Statement before the Glenn A. Walsh
Library Association: Telephone: 412-561-7876
ACLA Distribution Electronic Mail: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Formula to Libraries Internet Web Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
2006 June 13
Good evening. I am Glenn A.
As the attached web site page indicates, on page 2 of the first attachment, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library’s collection size was 35,772 cataloged items in 2001, but was 22,335 in 2005. Discussing this with Library staff and a Library Board member, I have learned that the collection size is now 18,000, may be further reduced, and this gutting of the Library’s collection is specifically due to the “Collection Turnover Rate” criterion of the current ACLA formula for the distribution of RAD funds to County libraries.
Although we finally convinced Carnegie Borough officials to significantly increase Library funding in the late 1990s, subsidy increases are very unlikely in the foreseeable future. The Borough was devastated by the Hurricane Ivan flooding. Several buildings in the business district have had to be demolished. The town’s anchor retail business, Izzy Miller Furniture, is closing. Carnegie is losing their tax base. So, to just keep the doors open to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library, the Library Board is doing what it can to maximize RAD funding from ACLA. And, this has meant the discarding of nearly half of the Library’s books !!!
I donated a book memorial to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library in April. Now, I am afraid to make any more book donations. If I donate another book, that will mean the eventual discarding of some other book!
Anecdotally, I also understand that some libraries are buying more popular fiction, to boost their circulation and hence their RAD funding, while their book budget for non-fiction titles is lagging.
The RAD funds distribution formula, administered by you,
the Board of Directors of the Allegheny County Library Association, is responsible for damaging library service in
I joined the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Board at a time when the Library was at great risk to close. I worked very hard to prevent the Library from closing. I left the Board at a time when I thought that the Library’s finances had stabilized, and the Library’s future prospects looked good.
Now, I find that half the Library is gone! How long will it take for the rest of the Library to disappear? With the continual gutting of the Library’s collection, it will soon come to the point where the Library will no longer be relevant to the community and will close for lack of interest!
There seems to be a mindset to use the ACLA formula to micromanage libraries, with little thought to unintended consequences. Another example: the new public computer usage standard—do you really think the RAD Board will agree to continue funding the EIN and agree to incentivize a maximum of 60 per cent computer usage? From the RAD perspective, this would be an inefficient use of RAD funds. Yet, if the standard would be raised to 80-90 per cent, which RAD may agree to, you suddenly incentivize libraries to get rid of computers to maximize RAD funding! If you really want to help County library patrons, this computer usage standard should never be established.
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In the past, the ACLA Board
and Management have defended their actions, regarding the inequitable
distribution formula, by stating that the formula was approved by the ACLA
membership. Well, the ACLA members do
not represent the taxpayers of
Most County taxpayers do not know how library service is being damaged by ACLA’s formula.. Unless changes are made, they will find out; I will see to that. You should really reconsider using the ACLA formula for the micromanagement of libraries. But, at the very least, the Turnover Rate and Computer Use criteria must be eliminated.