Today Kern County supervisors are expected to formally launch what should be an exhaustive and contentious debate over whether the county should privatize its far-flung library system.

The most likely course of action is the county will approve a "request for information" which would solicit proposals from private companies who would like to take over the Kern County Library Department's operations.

The automatic front-runner would be Library Services and Systems, Inc. a Maryland company that is the largest purveyor of these services and has already reached out to Kern County about a partnership, CAO John Nilon said.

At the same time, Nilon also said, the county will be going out into all the library communities in Kern County and asking the public to give them feedback on the idea.

So far, in a daily barrage of e-mails to supervisors, the public has been almost exclusively critical of the idea.

Should make for an interesting meeting at 2 p.m. today.

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