Statement before the                Glenn A. Walsh

  Board of Directors,                P.O. Box 1041

  Allegheny Regional                Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

     Asset District:            Telephone: 412-561-7876

  Abandonment of           Electronic Mail: < >

 Historic North Side       Internet Web Site: < >

  Carnegie Library                 2006 October 3


Good afternoon. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. I was a Life Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library in Carnegie: 1995 to 2000, Library Treasurer: 1995 to 1996, and the Library’s Delegate to the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA): 1995 to 1999. Today, I am speaking as a private citizen, representing no formal organization, with no affiliation to any library.


On August 28, the Director of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh came before you and talked about future plans for the Library system, including plans to repair damage done by a lightning strike to the historic Allegheny Regional Branch of Carnegie Library—the nation’s first publicly-funded Carnegie Library, built in the neighborhood where Andrew Carnegie grew-up. She failed, purposely, to tell you of plans to abandon this historic library in favor of building a new library structure three blocks away, while allowing the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to announce these plans only three days later!


This major decision was made with no input from the general public and no input from the RAD Board. This type of behavior is nothing new for Carnegie Library. Three years ago, Library Director Herb Elish promised you, at the annual budget hearing, that a final decision to abandon the historic Hazelwood Library and Auditorium would not be made until he consulted with the public at a neighborhood meeting. Yet, at the Sept. 9, 2003 public meeting Mr. Elish announced that the decision to move the library out of the historic building had already been made! To this day, the historic Hazelwood Library and Auditorium remains empty and unused.





Does this sound like a regional asset that really cares what the citizens think? So long as Carnegie Library continues getting their annual RAD appropriation, without a requirement to listen and pay attention to the citizens who pay the bills, this type of behavior will continue!

Originally called the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, this library building was very special to Andrew Carnegie as it was built in the neighborhood where he grew-up. Adjacent to this library, Andrew Carnegie built a memorial to his mentor, Co. James Anderson, who had opened the city’s first public library.


The Allegheny Regional Branch Library building was the first of 1,677 libraries to be built in the country under “The Carnegie Formula,” whereby the community was required to annually subsidize the library by no less than ten percent of the building construction cost.


The city’s oldest Library building was completely renovated in the 1970s, so it is not outdated for use as a library. In fact, before lightning closed the Library in April, it was the fourth busiest library branch in the city!


You hold the purse-strings for Carnegie Library. The taxpayers of Allegheny County expect you to hold Carnegie Library accountable for their actions, particularly considering that there is no one else who can effectively represent the public interest in Carnegie Library matters. I ask that you use that influence to insist that Carnegie Library seek input from the general public, and truly pay attention to that input, before abandoning the historic Allegheny Regional Branch Library building.


Thank you.