NY Times: Anger as a Private Company Takes Over Libraries

Image from the New York Times website.
Image from the New York Times website.

NYTimes.com: As L.S.S.I. Takes Over Libraries, Patrons Can’t Keep Quiet.

This is an interesting article from the New York Times about a private company from Maryland that has slowly taken over several public library systems in California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas. The article discusses how the Santa Clarita, California City Council recently voted to allow Library Systems & Services (LSSI) to run the city’s library services.

This raises some disturbing management and public service issues when the CEO of LSSI states that “you can go to a library for 35 years and never have to do anything and then have your retirement.” For someone who allegedly knows so much about operating a library, Mr. Pezzanite clearly has no idea what a librarian does and appears to have his head up his ass. This is a slap in the face to librarians who have a lifetime of education and public service under their belt, as well as to new library graduates all over the country who just finished their MLS/MLIS programs this summer. I encourage everyone reading this post to read the original NYT article (linked above) and find out whether their local public library system has any relationship to this company, represented arrogantly by Mr. Pezzanite.

Here’s a link to the LSSI website.

2 Comments

  • Jan Kuebel September 27, 2010 Reply

    Having worked in public, private, academic, and special libraries over a period of 20 years across the country, I would have to agree with Mr. Pezzanite’s statement. I am a current professional (MLIS) employee of LSSI and have been working in their libraries for over 5 years. I had the very substantial government pension plan and the overpaid salary before I VOLUNTARILY made the switch to LSSI. I made that life-changing decision after feeling that my chosen profession was failing me in the level of public service that I wished to give. Since that point in time, switching to LSSI has renewed my sense of public service and I no longer feel stagnant within my profession. For me personally, it is a decision that I have yet to regret. I now LOVE my job and my chosen profession. I wish to thank LSSI for that.

  • chris September 29, 2010 Reply Author

    Jan,

    Thanks for the comment–I enjoyed hearing your perspective. I am certainly glad to hear that LSSI has helped to renew your sense of public service in the library field. I think my reaction to it was couched in terms of just having finished the MLIS program and having Mr. Pezzanite’s comments make it seem as if I just went to graduate school for no reason. However, it’s no wonder that there’s such a negative reaction to LSSI taking over libraries–as the NYT points out–when Mr. Pezzanite says things like librarians “never have to do anything.” He certainly doesn’t endear himself to librarians making statements like that, and he certainly didn’t endear himself to several of my colleagues.

    But I would definitely like to hear more about your perspective. Would you mind sharing a little bit about why you felt unfulfilled in previous jobs and how that’s changed for your nowadays working in an LSSI system? If you’re interested, you could submit it as a guest post on this website and I think it make a nice Point/Counterpoint kind of thing. You can contact me and send me an email using the form in the “Contact” page. Thank you!

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