Should a US company run Britain's libraries?

A US library operator says it can could cut the cost of running Britain's libraries by 35 percent.

By , Guest blogger

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    In this file photo, patrons of Hendon library in Sunderland, England, read newspapers. Britain is struggling to keep its public libraries open, and an American company wants to step in.
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The Sunday Times (£) contained an interesting article concerning the ongoing debate about library closures. Library Systems & Services (LSSI), America’s fifth-largest operator of public libraries, says they can take over British libraries and cut costs by 35 percent, while also improving the service they provide. Here’s why:

Analysis by The Sunday Times of every library authority in England, Wales and Scotland shows widespread waste and variations in how public money is spent. On average, a third of the money councils say they spend on library services actually goes on administration. Some use more than half their allocated funds for head-office costs.

The article also notes, “LSSI spends up to 25% of its budget on books, compared with the 2.7% of Somerset county council.”

So, is anyone surprised that profit-making private sector companies cost less and produce more than bloated public sector bureaucracies? You have to wonder sometimes why the government is still attempting to run anything itself.

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