For immediate release | February 21, 2012

A special report on privatizing libraries

CHICAGO — “Privatizing Libraries,” a timely Special Report published by ALA Editions, provides a succinct but comprehensive overview of the "privatization" of public libraries. Authors Jane Jerrard, Nancy Bolt and Karen Strege provide background on the trend of local and state governments privatizing public services and assets and then examine the history of public library privatization right up to the recently introduced California legislation to restrict cities in the state from privatizing library services.

The book also examines what happens when a private, for-profit organization takes over essential management tasks and decisions of a public library, including the effects this can have on services, patron satisfaction and staff, as well as legal issues. It provides in-depth recommendations for librarians who want to retain control of their own institutions. Including forewords by Patricia A. Tumulty, chair, ALA Committee on Library Advocacy and ALA Task Force on Privatization, and Marci Merola, director, ALA Office for Library Advocacy, this special report offers case studies, statistics and a valuable checklist of to-dos for libraries that are facing partial or complete privatization.

Jerrard is an independent author and editor based in Chicago. She has written books for consumers, children and librarians, including the ALA Special Report "Crisis in Employment: A Librarian’s Guide to Helping Job Seekers."

Bolt was state librarian of Colorado for 18 years, before forming her own library consulting company, Nancy Bolt & Associates, in 2005. Since 2006 she has been project co-director for the ALA’s Library Support Staff Certification Program. This book is her second project involving the privatization of public libraries. She assisted in the development of "Keeping Public Libraries Public: A Checklist for Communities Considering Privatization of Public Libraries.” Bolt is certified as an advanced strategic planner by the Association of Strategic Planning.

Strege is a co-director of ALA’s Library Support Staff Certification Program and a private library consultant, specializing in evaluation. She also assisted in the development of “Keeping Public Libraries Public.” She was state librarian of Montana for nine years.

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