Tuesday, May 31, 2016

JCLS seeks relief from library management contract

Officials with Jackson County Library Services in Jackson County, Ore. are exploring options for getting out of a contract for library management with Library Systems and Services (LS&S).

As reported on May 27 by the Medford Mail Tribune, library officials have expressed growing unease with the library management contract.

LS&S has control over employees and other aspects of library operations.

Library officials estimated that one-third of the money they give to LS&S “goes to overhead and profits, curtailing both employee salaries and library services.”

Among concerns, as expressed by Jill Turner, library district board member, the LS&S contract will cost 38 percent more this next fiscal year than it cost in 2008, but workers making minimum wage have seen their earnings increase by only 19.2 percent. Those employees with master’s degrees in library science have seen only a 16.98-percent increase in their earnings. (Turner’s estimates were based on “various assumptions about the contract with LS&S, which she couldn’t substantiate.”)

Jackson County entered into the original contract in 2007. In 2015, the library board signed a five-year contract with LS&S.

The news account cites board member Maureen Swift saying the board is “looking carefully at its options,” but that, so far, it looks like it might be difficult to break free from LS&S.

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