California Libraries Targeted for Takeover by Private Equity Firms


Public libraries in Camarillo, Santa Clarita and Ventura have all been targeted for a takeover by Library Systems and Services (LSSI), a private company headquartered in Maryland and majority-owned by the private equity firm Islington Capital Partners. Privatizing public libraries means libraries will be de-professionalized and residents will pay more and receive less, while LSSI makes a profit for its investors and shareholders. Instead of listening to residents, the City Council created a ‘Citizen’s Advisory Committee’ to review Santa Clarita’s library system and its needs and make recommendations for moving forward with LSSI. The committee had no decision-making power, and was widely criticized as a thinly veiled attempt to silence critics.

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