Assemblyman Das Williams has authored legislation that would require voter approval for local jurisdictions to turn over operation of libraries to private companies.
There is a “growing effort” to have for-profit companies operate library systems within California, according to a fact sheet released by Williams’ office, and the bill would require voter approval at a regularly scheduled election before changing from a public, county library system to a private contractor.
As of now, city councils, boards of trustees or other legislative bodies of a city or library district can notify county officials if they want to withdraw from a county free library system.
Assembly Bill 438 would require the legislative board to post a public notice and submit the question for voter approval. If approved, it can then notify county officials of its intent.
The Coastal Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy and Ventura Reader’s Book Group are co-sponsors of the bill, and its supporters include several other local organizations. Opposition groups include the League of California Cities and Library Systems & Services LLC, a private library service provider.