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The city of San Diego should outsource the entire library system. A private sector operator would cut costs and improve service. Besides the obvious pay and pension savings to taxpayers, service could improve through changes such as staggering the hours that the branch libraries are open.

Would a retail chain of stores be so foolish as to close all of its stores on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, or Thursday and Friday evenings, or all day Monday, or kick all of its customers out at one of its busiest times, Saturdays at 2:30? Well, that’s exactly what our 26 branch libraries do.

Sure, the library budget is lean and is the supposed reason for these closings. But a private operator might have the creativity to have some libraries open while nearby ones are closed. A patron could, say, go to the open Mira Mesa branch when the nearby Scripps Ranch branch is closed, and vice versa.

It is hard not to conclude library officials are not inconveniencing their patrons in order to argue for a bigger budget. Time to outsource and put the taxpayer/library patron first.

Bob Spaulding lives in Rancho Peñasquitos.

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