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Local News

Williams Seeks to Require Voter Approval for Cities to Withdraw from County Library System

A public meeting on Assembly Bill 438 is scheduled for Friday in Solvang

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.

Williams was a city councilman for Santa Barbara before his election to the state Assembly, and will hold a public meeting on AB 438 at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Solvang Library, 1745 Mission Drive.

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.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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