Statement about the Huntington Beach Library Privatization RFP

The City of Huntington Beach, CA., has issued an RFP to solicit bids to privatize the library through a Managed Library Services agreement under contractor with a third-party private entity.  The EveryLibrary Institute has been evaluating whether we should submit a competitive and qualified bid within the RFP process. As part of the process, we submitted a number of questions to the City asking for information about the requirements of the bid. After careful consideration of the City’s answers, we have decided not to submit a bid.

We were concerned that the RFP requirements had been written in such a way that only one company could be scored as a fully qualified bidder. For example, we cannot meet two requirements, both of which are heavily weighted in the final score, that proscribe all eligible references to be made by libraries and municipalities in California. When we asked, the City declined to modify that geographic limitation.

The City declined to name what cost savings they hope to see in a successful bid. It is not possible for us to create an accurate and actionable proposal without this information. We were surprised when reviewing the RFP that the City did not mention significant current conditions, such as an existing employment contract between it and the local union. We also asked the City for assurances that it would address ambiguities about that issue and other legal and political issues within the RFP process. They did not provide what we consider to be adequate responses to those important questions. It does not give us certainty about doing business with the City.

Upon consideration, we know we are neither qualified to bid inside the current RFP nor interested in bidding within their current political and legal climate. We hope the City will release the full Q&A in due order. We respect the talent and integrity of the Huntington Beach Library's staff and leadership tremendously. In the end, we hope that this RFP will be rescinded and that they will be allowed to get back to work serving everyone in Huntington Beach.

Copy of Version 2. Questions and Answers from June 7, 2024 (opens PDF)