July 31, 2021

Oregon: “Jackson County Library Contractor Takes Heat”

From The Mail Tribune (Medford, OR)

A contract to operate Jackson County’s 15 libraries came under fire Thursday over charges that a private equity firm’s control has created excessive employee oversight and could stunt workers’ already low wages.

“I’m not only embarrassed that we pay $10 an hour, I am ashamed,” said Cathy Shaw, a library district budget committee member.

Shaw and other library officials expressed unease over the contract with Library Systems and Services, formerly known as LSSI, which manages all 15 branches and came under control of Argosy Private Equity in 2015.

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LSSI and now LS&S has had an almost 10-year relationship with Jackson County libraries, Paul Colangelo, president and chief operations officer for LS&S, said in a phone interview.

He said the company was previously owned by another private equity firm, so there always has been a private equity firm in the mix. He said Argosy has improved services and streamlined operations so that employees can spend more time with customers.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.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.

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