Cindy Singer is a county librarian at the Hacienda Heights branch and she’s worried about our public libraries. That’s why she wrote us this letter.
“As a Los Angeles County librarian, I am concerned that the trend of library privatization comes with a risk to our library quality as well as our collective pocketbook.
“When mega-bookstores wiped out so many mom-and-pop booksellers, consumers were left with fewer choices when it came to finding specialty books or receiving quality customer service. I worry that libraries under private control will cater solely to popular demand rather than manage resources well so everyone in our community has access to quality informational material.
“Similarly, communities with privately controlled libraries have seen professional library staff replaced with less qualified employees who don’t have experience running successful library programs. In one library, a once-fully developed reading program has been reduced to handing kids coloring sheets.
“Because we are focused on a public service mission, our local libraries endeavor to understand and fulfill the particular needs in our communities. In my library, that means providing critical support to local children and families, enabling them to learn about and connect to resources they can get in our community, such as speech therapy and early literacy. Without AB 438 in place, we can’t be assured that a private library, driven by corporate headquarters’ formulas, won’t sacrifice these community services for the sake of corporate profit.
“The trend toward privatization comes as the economy continues to falter and quality library services are more important than ever. Every day, we see people looking for information for things they’ve never done before: fixing their own car, doing repairs around the house, growing a vegetable garden, learning another language.
“We know library money is tight now, and that’s all the more reason to make sure it’s spent wisely. AB 438 contains the common-sense protections we need to ensure quality library services remain accessible when our community needs them the most.”
Read more of Singer’s letter at Library.