Florida: Sumter County Considering Privatizing Library Services With LSSI
Sumter County wants to close the books on municipal library operations, opting instead for a private company to provide these services.
County officials are thinking about contracting the job to Library Systems and Services of Germantown, Md., saying it would improve the seven-library system by adding services such as eBooks and downloadable music.
“An enhanced level of service can be achieved,” county Administrator Bradley Arnold said.
Friends of the Panasoffkee Community Library and a number of Sumter residents don’t see it that way. They fear services will go down and fees will go up.
Board members said they will try to dispel a number of misconceptions about the effort to privatize the library system.
“We’re not trying to decrease services, but increase them,” board chairman Doug Gilpin said.
The Osceola County [FL] Commission recently privatized its library services and Lake County commissioners will discuss doing so, too, during a workshop next month, possibly on June 4 or June 18. In an earlier interview, Lake County Manager David Heath said Osceola officials have seen some savings, but not as much as they thought they were going to get.
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Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.