By Dave Bradley, Blog for Iowa
library privatization is a below-the-radar movement that is really gaining ground. Replacing the taxes are fees and subscriptions and of course a charge to the town itself. And instead of a library that works to be a true service to the town you get a business hustling for a buck. As such the selections are often narrowed (you could say censored) and costs to the user goes up dramatically.
The city of Ventura, California is in the process of considering going down this road at this moment. The Ventura County Star has a great article on what to expect. Here is an excerpt:
“As a private company, LSSI (Library Systems and Services Inc.) can choose to censor library materials. It can do with citizens’ loan records anything not specifically prohibited by a city’s contract.
"Most importantly, LSSI is in the library business (an astonishing turn of phrase) to make a profit. It does this by reducing the quality and quantity of library services while charging high costs to host cities, banking the difference to dole out to its shareholders and spread virus-like to other unsuspecting towns.”
The reason this is important in Iowa is because a Republican legislature in Iowa was avoided the other night in Senate District 18. Had the Republican won, the Senate would be split with Republicans effectively in charge with the tie-breaking vote being held by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.
Last legislative session, one of the Republicans’ major objectives was to pass a bill reducing commercial property taxes. Inside that bill were some poison pills that would dry up revenues for cities and towns throughout Iowa.
With revenues cut way back, most towns would be hard pressed providing police and fire protection, let alone a library, swimming pool or even cemetery maintenance. I asked our city manager what would happen if that bill passed. He said we would probably lose the library in about 5 years and probably lose the pool at about the same time. In ten years we would probably be looking at police cutbacks.
All this is being done quietly, very quietly. And you know why. This is yet another *perk* of the ALEC legislative agenda.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment