For immediate release | June 21, 2011

ALA launches new resource to address privatization issue

CHICAGO – ALA has created a new publication addressing the privatization issue. “Keeping Public Libraries Public: A Checklist for Libraries Considering Privatization of Public Libraries,” was created in response to the increasing number of libraries faced with the threat of privatization in their communities.

“We believe there are certain community services that should be held by the public. Libraries are one of them,” said Patricia Tumulty, chair of ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy. “Privatizing the library threatens two pillars of public control – accountability and transparency. ”

The checklist contains key messages and talking points for librarians and library supporters working with the issue, checklists for community leaders to consider before they choose to privatize and, in the case of privatization, checklists to ensure that contract provisions are being met.

This project was a collaborative effort between ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy, the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations and the Committee on Library Advocacy’s special task force on privatization. Members of that task force include Patricia Tumulty, chair; Carolyn Anthony, director, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library; Audra Caplan, 2010-2011 president, Public Library Association; Peggy Danhof, board trustee president, Fountaindale Public Library, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Kathleen Hage, youth services librarian, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Public Library; Christine Lind Hage, director, Rochester Hills (Mich.) Public Library; and Donna McDonald, director, Arkansas River Valley Regional Library, and trustee, Arkansas State Library Board.

To learn more about the issue, visit To download the toolkit as a pdf, visit (PDF).


Jaclyn Finneke