Librarians applaud Gov. Brown’s signature on AB 438

Members of the Fresno County Library that went to Sacramento

Members came from all over 521 to Sacramento to work to pass AB 438.

Librarians and SEIU members worked hard to pass AB 438, which protects our libraries. This weekend, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 438!

Now, before our public libraries are outsourced to a private company, common-sense protections must be in place. The new law:

  • Protects the public and taxpayers from the bait and switch, too-good-to-be true promises of private firms
  • Requires adequate notice, an analysis demonstrating savings, and audits
  • Protects workers from being fired and replaced with low-wage workers, the linchpin of the private business model

The new law means companies that would take over our public libraries must actually deliver on their promises to provide the full essential public services.

SEIU 521 members lobbied in Sacramento to support the bill, and librarians Gail Lancaster of Bakersfield and Molly Spore-Alhadef of Redwood City got opinion pieces published in their local newspapers pushing for the measure.

The thought of turning a public resource into a for-profit venture struck a nerve throughout the country and the New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Fox, MSNBC and Huffington Post all ran stories about privatizing public libraries. SEIU International invested into the campaign with the privatizationbeast.org video which now has more than 350,000 views.

In this recession, it’s more important than ever that libraries help people applying for jobs, learning new skills, and getting help in school.

We librarians know firsthand what library services mean to our community. This law will protect those services.
— Gail Lancaster, librarian II, Kern County

I am so happy. All of our efforts paid off!
— Eileen Floyd Browning, Circulation Supervisor, Belmont Library for San Mateo County

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