REDDING, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/04/10 -- Library Systems Services, LLC (www.lssi.com), the nation's leading provider of library management services, today announced that the Redding City Council voted unanimously to extend its library operations contract. The vote, which was taken at the February 22 city council meeting, extends LSSI's operations of the Redding, Anderson and Burney libraries in Shasta County for an additional three years.
"We are grateful for the relationship we have established with the City of Redding to operate its public libraries," said Frank A. Pezzanite, chief executive officer and co-founder of LSSI. "This vote of confidence, demonstrates the benefits of the public-private partnership and the priorities that community leaders and residents place on their public libraries in Shasta County."
The library system of Shasta County is unique. The City of Redding manages all three libraries in Shasta County and out-sources the day-to-day operations to LSSI. LSSI provides full-service operation of the libraries including staffing with professional librarians, collection acquisitions, information technology and web master services, volunteer coordination, public relations and janitorial services. LSSI also has facilitated long-range strategic planning efforts and has written successful grant applications to enhance library services.
"This unanimous approval is recognition of the progress and success of the library in the last three years," said Kim Niemer, Redding's director of community services and whose department oversees Redding's contract with both Shasta Public Library System and LSSI. "Over the last two decades, the public libraries were financially unstable," Niemer said, explaining the city's decision to seek a more efficient operations infrastructure. "As a result of the LSSI partnership, Shasta Public Libraries now provide residents in Redding, Anderson and Burney with better service, more convenient hours, new technology, clean facilities, courteous staff, and programs designed by and for their communities."
Speaking at the Redding City Council meeting was Peggy O'Lea, executive director of the Shasta Library Foundation and an original member of several citizen commissions organized in the 1990s to study alternatives to the then County-run library system.
"Since Shasta County and the City of Redding took this course, the support of the public library has soared," said O'Lea. "Increases in library usage, new card holders and volunteerism alone are evidence of satisfaction with public library operations county-wide." Statistics support O'Lea's claims. Shasta County has a population of just over 180,000 with approximately 80,000 library cardholders. An additional 1,000 new library cards are issued each month.
Jim Ceragioli, the acting president of the Friends of the Shasta County Library, also shared his enthusiasm for LSSI and the support provided by library volunteers. "I was originally opposed to outsourcing to LSSI," admits Ceragioli. "But my advice to other communities' Friends of the Library groups, who may share my original skepticism is, 'Go for it!' With this public-private partnership, our libraries are thriving. They are open more hours, vital literacy programs have expanded, and a wonderful environment has been created for library volunteers." In 2009 alone, Ceragioli and 400 other volunteers donated over 25,000 hours of service to Shasta County libraries.
In March 2007, Redding opened a new $20 million state-of-the-art, 56,000 sq. ft. library and also took on the responsibility of operating two additional libraries located in Shasta County. LSSI managed the transition from the previous facility and has since provided operational services for the Redding library, as well as the Anderson and Burney libraries.
"We are proud of the role LSSI is playing in Shasta County's libraries in Redding, Anderson and Burney. We look forward to continuing this public-private partnership to provide outstanding library services to the citizens of Shasta County," Pezzanite stated. "This unanimous vote, along with the support of the community, the Friends, and the Foundation, demonstrates that LSSI and Shasta County share a common vision for the future of the library system."
About LSSI: Founded by library professionals, in 1981, Library Systems & Services, LLC (LSSI) is the country's premier provider of library management services. It is headquartered in Germantown, MD.
A partnership agreement between Shasta County, Redding and the City of Anderson resulted in long-term library funding and a new governance structure which paved the way to examine how library services were provided, resulting in a management agreement between Shasta County and the City of Redding and ultimately, an operations outsourcing agreement with LSSI.
Shasta County had operated the Shasta County Library System for essentially all of its history. When the citizens of Redding, in conjunction with the Library Foundation and Friends of the Library groups, organized to improve their community library facility and services, they sought additional funding from the county. Unable to secure a financial commitment, they sought a California State Library Proposition 14 grant for the construction of a new library. They succeeded in raising $8 million in matching funds, more than one-third of the $20 million construction budget as stipulated by the terms of the state grant. Shasta County remained in control of the Prop. 14 grant money and the construction of the new library until it was completed and then transferred the ownership to the City of Redding.