This website provides information about a grassroots Initiative and Referendum effort to amend the Pittsburgh City Charter by adding a new section entitled "Public Libraries." If placed on the ballot and approved by the voters in the next election, the amendment would implement significant reform at the Carnegie Library and ensure the viability of the entire system.
Makes the Library public again!
First and foremost, the Library Amendment would make the City's library public again! Most people do not realize that the library was privatized in 1994 -- and it is that privatization, done in violation of the explicit wishes of its original donor, Andrew Carnegie, which has been the largest part of the library's problems. MORE
3 Things you can do to keep Pittsburgh’s libraries open
Sign the Library Referendum petition now – It will take over 10,000 signatures to put the referendum question on the ballot. If you are registered to vote in the City of Pittsburgh, don’t wait, sign today! We need to keep the momentum building.
Tell people – Tell everyone you know who lives in the City of Pittsburgh that if they are eligible to vote, they need to sign the library referendum petition now, before the end of July, or it will be too late! In order to get the signatures necessary in time, the message needs to become “viral” and talked about everywhere: neighborhood gatherings, radio call in shows, letters to the editor, any place you can think of. Call your friends now. Tell them to check online here, at SavePgh.Org, to find out more and participate.
Volunteer to help – There are things you can do from home in a few minutes, right on your own computer. There are many ways to get involved. Most of all, you can collect signatures of your friends and neighbors … even just getting a few will help.
The petition will place the following on the Fall ballot:
If ratified by the voters, the Charter Amendment will:
- Put financial controls on the library's overambitious capital spending, the current debt service for which is roughly equal to the deficit that has sparked all the controversy over closings.
- Require public hearings for reduction in service.
- Require there be a public referendum in which the voters in the part of the city affected must approve any branch closures, relocations, or consolidation before they can happen.
- Protect the City's historic library buildings, requiring restoration, maintenance, and their continued use as libraries -- the best way to assure their preservation.
- Force open the library's meetings and public records by bringing the library under the Sunshine Act and Open Records Law.
- Require trained librarians run the library as required by the State Library Code for all other libraries.
- Increase accountability directly to the residents by creating a new, nonpartisan Library Commission to run the Library, with 5 members elected by district, 4 elected at-large, and 4 who are appointed and have library management expertise. (The present Board of Trustees will become advisory.)
- Dedicate approximately 1% of the present municipal real estate tax to the reconstituted Carnegie Library of the City of Pittsburgh without increasing taxes (it can be taken from money which would otherwise be budgeted as subsidies given to real estate speculators).
Contact us to help make this happen by circulating and/or signing the Library Amendment Initiative petitions (or help in some other way).