"The company (LSSI)...believes it can make a profit by redesigning services and cutting costs. It pledges to keep libraries open and shelves stocked but critics claim it will reduce staff and introduce charges"
"...LSSI has faced public outcry and lawsuits in the US over claims that experienced staff have lost their jobs and traditionally free library services have attracted charges. While Mr Fitzgerald (LSSI's UK vice-president) denies charges had ever been introduced on free services and insists staff working terms and conditions would be respected, with savings coming from best practice and economies of scale, opponents say it is “ridiculous” to hand over a public asset to a profit-making company which has a balance sheet as its prime concern."Croydon library campaigners are already aware of these concerns. As Ian Anstice, a member of Voices for the Library, writes on his blog Public Libraries News:
"LSSI has been accused of reducing the numbers, pension, terms and conditions of its employees. When taking over a service, LSSI re-employs staff on new contracts. Recent research shows it retains the minimum of qualified library staff. It is worth noting that, for its size, 100 "qualified" staff it promotes as being employed by the company is fairly low when compared to the industry standard. Also, there is the question as to what level these staff are qualified to. It appears that LSSI de-unionises its libraries in the USA."
"LSSI, which runs 16 public library systems in five US states, is currently wooing authorities with an attractive business model that promises increased community activity and invites Starbucks to set up inside branches. LSSI has spoken to “dozens of local authorities” over the past three years and held meetings with five councils last week, with Croydon becoming the latest borough to consider a deal. LSSI’s first contract is expected to start next May in Wokingham."
“We have seen the council’s plans off, which is a great triumph for the public, but they will be back. It is all part of this new barbarism where cost is more important than culture. We did have contact from a US action group who said that LSSI’s claims to improve services did not always hold up."