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Beale Memorial Library on Truxtun Avenue.

The issue of the Kern County library's privatization -- or outsourcing -- is proceeding through a clear public process.

But conflict is heating up between county unions and the company that wants to take over operation of the county library system.

Rachel Glauser, communications manager for Providence Strategic Consulting, told supervisors Tuesday that a coalition is forming to support a public-private partnership to operate public libraries.

Glauser said the coalition isn't ready to go public with its membership.

Her mother, local political veteran Tracy Leach, said Providence has been hired by Library Systems & Services Inc., a for-profit company which has offered to take over operation of Kern County's 24 library branches, replacing union jobs with private positions.

Glauser complained to supervisors that she was harassed on Saturday when she attended an anti-privatization event put on at Beale Memorial Library by the Service Employees International Union, Local 521, and handed out pro-LSSI fliers.

A union person, who Glauser did not identify, "intentionally bumped into me and shoved her arm in front of me preventing me from handing out any of my fliers so she could hand people the SEIU flier."

In addition, she said, she was heckled by the crowd and told to leave.

Regina Kane, president of SEIU's Kern County Chapter, said she wasn't aware of any of the heckling or jostling Glauser spoke of, though they knew she was there.

"We were there for the sole purpose of supporting the libraries to stay public," Kane said.

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