Think Piece • January 13, 2023

The Truth About Library Managed Services

Outsourcing, or managed services, has existed in government for decades. From waste management to road repair to emergency dispatch services, many private companies provide services for various communities across the country. The obvious upside is that these companies are experts in their field, solely focused on providing a single service and offering efficient and cost-effective solutions. Library managed services are no different.

Because library managed services are not as widely known, there are misconceptions about the model that are misleading and detract from the truth. Libraries across the country have been outsourced for over four decades and seen measurable improvement – some even saved from permanently closing – under a managed services model.

Let’s discuss the facts: 

  1.  Library managed services is a partnership between  community leaders, library stakeholders and library experts. All strategic decisions are made in collaboration to ensure alignment with the community’s wants and needs.
  2.  Library managed services are not the same as privatization. With a managed services model, the library remains a free public library and the facility and all assets – books, materials, technology – remain property of the municipality. 
  3.  Libraries under a managed services model are no different than other public libraries. They offer the same access and services as any public library; anyone can check out materials, use computers and technology and participate in programs — all for free. In fact, libraries that employ a managed services model are able to offer more services within the same budget.

There’s a lot more to cover, which is why we’re hosting a webinar in February to discuss the common misconceptions and facts about library managed services and provide real life examples of libraries thriving under the model. Stay tuned.