City might put library outsourcer on the shelf

The agenda for the City Council’s meeting on Tuesday comes with a big surprise: a staff recommendation for the city to bring management and staffing of the city’s libraries in-house by July.

The city left the LA County library system in 2010, and immediately turned over operations to LSSI, a Maryland company that specialized in library outsourcing. Since then, the city has opened the community-centric Newhall library, and its Saugus Library Center concept will be coming along in the next few years. Meanwhile, LSSI (now Library System Services) was bought by the private equity firm Argosy in 2015 and has been running into its share of trouble and opposition around the country.

If you’ve been around since 2010, you probably appreciate that this is a big deal. Bringing the operations in-house would mean a deeper commitment to the services and stability of our expanding system. Count me as a yes.

The agenda packet goes into some detail about how and why the move will save money, so there’s that as well. LSSI’s initial 5-year contract was renewed in 2016 with city getting year-to-year renewals. If the city decides to make this move, the contract with LSSI will expire on June 30 of this year.

For what it’s worth, of the four councilmembers who voted to hire LSSI in 2010, only two (McLean and Weste) remain on the council.