Escondido Indivisible, in cooperation with Neighbors in Action, and the Escondido Democratic Club is organizing people to save their public library from being privatized.
The Escondido Public Library dates back to 1894 and is currently visited by an average of 1,435 people daily. The total collection in the facility amounts to 200,000 books, and users are fearful many of those volumes would be gone if a contractor operates the library.
Escondido City manager Jeff Epps claims the city is simply studying a proposal by Maryland-based Library Systems & Services (“LS&S”) to take over operations.
Most of the one hundred or so citizens who gathered at Chalice Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Monday believe the decision has already been made and have vowed to flood a city council hearing on August 16 with speakers opposed to the move.
Librarian Whitney McCoy, the keynote speaker at the meeting, was interviewed by The Times-Advocate:
She attended the meeting July 11 where LS&S spoke to the Escondido Library Board of Trustees, (which advises the city council on library matters) and explained one way they save money. “They focus on the best sellers and pull the less popular books,” she said.
This removes books from the shelves that are representative of less popular views. “This is at odds with what libraries do,” she said.
She described librarians as “highly educated civil servants. They live here. They are part of the community.” If LS&S is contracted to run the library the percentage of librarians with MA’s in library science will decline, she claimed.
She argued that one function of librarians is to provide programs for the “marginalized, disenfranchised and overlooked,” and that when a library is outsourced such programs will fall by the wayside.
What started as a national movement to protect Democracy is now trickling down into local issues, and this is a very good thing.
Following are actions being suggested, via a mailing from Escondido Indivisible:
- ATTEND August 8th, 2pm Library Trustee meeting at the library. Bring a sign.
- RALLY August 16, 3:30 pm in front of City Hall- Save Our Escondido Library Rally. Bring your sign, hat, water, and sunscreen!
- ATTEND August 16, 4:30 City Hall meeting and speak on public comment. Turn in speaker card with your position on it whether you speak or not! Bring a 8.5 x 11 inch sign with your own ‘Save our Library’ message
- TALK to your friends and neighbors! Let them know what our Council is about to do!
- BUILD this movement to save our library and take back our city!
- REPORT BACK: Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what actions you took and if you received any response.
- GET INVOLVED: We need help. If you like to write, do Facebook, demonstrate, make signs, please contact your group or email email@example.com
(Lead image via Friends of the San Francisco Public Library)
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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