Other Voices: We don’t live in Jackson County, Mr. Jordan
Re: “Public-private library partnership a win-win,” Feb. 13:
First, let me extend my sympathy to Jackson County, Oregon. They did encounter some tough times. They lost their federal timber subsidies in 2006, two library tax levies failed at the polls, the libraries were closed and staff furloughed.
Does this resemble, in any way, Nevada County?
The Nevada County Library system is still functioning in a robust manner. Thanks to the support of Nevada County voters, Measures B and C were passed with overwhelming support. In addition to the current tax revenue from Measure C, the library system continues to receive general funds from the county. At this time, the library system is experiencing a shortfall in tax revenue, but unlike Jackson County, our library system is not broken.
After Jackson County contracted with LSSI, the county allowed the cities, at their discretion, to purchase extra hours for enhanced library service. Ashland citizens voted, in a supplemental property tax, to increase their library hours from 16 to 40. The City of Talent chose to implement a utility surcharge to meet the same ends. (Perhaps this city-county cost-sharing could have saved their libraries from being shut down in the first place.)
This contrast demonstrates, once again, that the Nevada County Library system does not fit the profile of a system in need of LSSI’s services. Since LSSI currently contracts with only 13 of 9,214 public library systems in the United States, it would seem that many others have arrived at this same conclusion when weighing their options. In addition, the two committees (Citizen’s Oversight and ad hoc) asked by the Board of Supervisors, and CEO Rick Haffey, to review the recommended management options, chose to reject the LSSI model.
During the ongoing discussion about which management model will best serve Nevada County Library and the community, let’s not forget that the library system has been employing a successful management model for many years. Just ask the thousands of library patrons who make the library a destination of choice.
Danny Jordan, the Jackson County administrator, the author of the Other Voices column “Public-private library partnership a win-win,” supported contracting with LSSI to manage the public library services in Jackson County. I am curious as to what prompted Mr. Jordan to submit his opinion piece to our local paper?
Deb Abbadie lives in Grass Valley.
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