Assignment 2: Position Paper
Converting Public Libraries to Private Must be Stopped
SOC 105: Society and The Media
Converting Public Libraries to Private Libraries Must Be Stopped
Information, learning materials, articles, books, autobiographies, historical reads, pictures, music, etc. are fundamentals that all United States citizens should have access. Libraries are an excellent source for hands-on research and research helps develop the mind, promotes critical thinking skills, and constructive dialect and arguments. Public libraries are a centralized place where these types of resources are available free or at low cost to all people and age groups. Internet, computer software and computer hardware are also accessible at public libraries. These resources aide children, adults, students, and professionals to obtain material and tools necessary for literacy, enjoyment, education, and employment. If these public libraries are forced to go private, this could mean the end of real democracy as we know today. We have enough private organizations in our communities. Such entities that have transformed into private are correctional institutions, recreational facilities, and roadways. In these organizations, being private is always the best. Privatization can be risky, dangerous to the public, and not in the public interest. Therefore, converting public libraries to private libraries must be stopped.
Ending the privatization of libraries need to happen because of the adverse outcomes it can bring. While privatization may have its perks, it carries risks. Private companies all strive for their bottom line, which is to profit. When private organizations take over public agencies, there is a cost involved for that individual company (3). A lot of times, the private organization will inherit and take on public debts. The private organization will find a way to recoup and gain additional revenues to own, manage, and operate what once was a public domain. Therefore, the costs to the public will rise. Items that may have been free to access will now have a price. All households will not be able to afford the rise in costs. The inability to leverage resources that are made available in our public libraries for all could have dangerous consequences (3).
Privatizing libraries is dangerous to the public because of the lack of regulations. Public Agencies, for the most part, must abide by specific rules. With no checks and balance systems in play, companies can promise one thing yet practice another. Privatization promotes deregulation (1). Privatization of public agencies should include accountability to ensure that all people, no matter their demographics such as; financial status, ethnicity, age, or neighborhood, will have access to the same information. Discrimination can be easily practiced within the private sector as well. Therefore, privatization may not be in the public interest (1).
Working in the public interest means to do what is right at all times regardless of push back for the public and society. Private organizations will not always operate with social responsibility or with community ethics in mind. For example, the conditions of correctional institutions under the private sector are deplorable and receive constant complaints, yet, they are prosperous revenue makers (6). There have been documentaries that have depicted the adverse conditions within these institutions. The terrible food, poor housing conditions, and ill-treatment of the inmates from the staff have all been exposed (6).
Some critics would claim that things have improved under privatization; however, most favor smaller government and large business for personal gain. They argue the profit-seeking behavior of new, private sector managers will undoubtedly lead to cost-cutting and more considerable attention to customer satisfaction (2).
In Conclusion, I believe libraries should remain public, primarily because society uses them for credible sources of information regarding research, education, news, etc. If public libraries were privatized, this could cause the community to become uneducated and easily manipulated. Making them private may move them to be costly. Private companies want to make a profit. If private companies were to take over the public’s informational and library services, this could cause certain areas, zones, or neighborhoods open of discrimination. All libraries may not receive the same information (5).
Privatization of public libraries will be effective only if private managers have incentives to act in the public interest, to include efficiency. The simple transfer of ownership from public to private hands will not necessarily reduce the cost or enhance the quality of services. (5). With that said, once I am in the office, I will do all that I can to keep our libraries public because converting public libraries into private ones must be stopped.
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