Monthly Archives: September 2010

“a lot of libraries are atrocious”

Let us see how many atrocities we can document below, shall we?

Can a municipal service like a library hold so central a place that it should be entrusted to a profit-driven contractor only as a last resort — and maybe not even then?

“There’s this American flag, apple pie thing about libraries,” said Frank A. Pezzanite, the outsourcing company’s chief executive. He has pledged to save $1 million a year in Santa Clarita, mainly by cutting overhead and replacing unionized employees. “Somehow they have been put in the category of a sacred organization.”

The company, known as L.S.S.I., runs 14 library systems operating 63 locations. Its basic pitch to cities is that it fixes broken libraries — more often than not by cleaning house.

“A lot of libraries are atrocious,” Mr. Pezzanite said. “Their policies are all about job security. That’s why the profession is nervous about us. You can go to a library for 35 years and never have to do anything and then have your retirement. We’re not running our company that way. You come to us, you’re going to have to work.”

The members of the Santa Clarita City Council who voted to hire L.S.S.I. acknowledge there was no immediate threat to the libraries. The council members say they want to ensure the libraries’ long-term survival in a state with increasingly shaky finances.

“A lot of libraries are atrocious.”  Hmmm, just like a lot of the fast food restaurants, thieving banks, military contractors and the corrupt governments that enable them all. Speaking from experience I see.  Secondly, where or when is it not about job security, especially in this economy? Thirdly, to imply there’s never anything to do at a public library not only tells me that Mr. Pezzanite has never bothered to step in a library much less inquire about its mission.

The fact is that public libraries are cost centers and will never play nicely with business interests.  And yes, libraries do have a sacred status; not really like the flag embossed lapel pins our glorious governmental leaders so love to wear, but more like the kind represented in the Constitution. A sacrament that’s a source of profit; you know, a commitment to that “greater good”  thing that’s completely antithetical to outsourcing companies and business in general.

libraries, stadiums, & high performance governance

Presser!

In order to bring its operating budget in line with reduced property tax revenues, the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library has announced a 26 percent reduction in public service hours systemwide to take effect as of Sunday, October 3, 2010.

Based on recommendations of the bi-partisan High Performance Government Team, the reduction in hours will result in a savings of approximately $1.5 million and will allow IMCPL to achieve the goal of keeping all library branches open in 2011. The savings, however, represent only a portion of what is needed to reconcile a projected $4 million revenue shortfall as a result of property tax caps and lower-than-anticipated property tax collections. Other savings will come from various areas, including a $1 million reduction in the Library’s books and materials budget, along with reductions in such activities as printing, postage, utilities and data communications. In addition, modest revenue enhancements will result from higher fees for such items as failure to pick up holds and replacing library cards.

Now that’s High Performance governance in action! At least my restaurant money goes to building that high performance stadium that not everybody worships or uses. Prices which will increase due to higher food and beverage taxes yet again. But no sir, Indiana doesn’t have a brain drain.