before the Glenn A.
the P.O. Box 1041
City of Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Scheduled Closing of Telephone:
MLK Reading Ctr. Electronic Mail: < email@example.com >
Web Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc
Good morning. I am Glenn A.
Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today, I am speaking as a private citizen,
representing no formal organization. You have not seen me for the last couple
weeks, as I have been ill.
Now that I have returned, I
find that Carnegie Library has scheduled the permanent closing of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center on Herron Hill. The small Reading Center, along with a small Hill District Branch Library,
replaced the larger Wylie Avenue Branch Library building, which Andrew Carnegie
built in 1899.
According to a report in the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette, Carnegie Library Director Barbara Mistick said, regarding Reading Center supporters, “It would be wonderful if they would go
and speak in places where a difference could be made, like the Regional Asset
District, that's where our funding dollars come from.” Yet, RAD funding
decisions for 2006 became final on December 1; the public hearing regarding
2006 RAD funding levels was in October!
I attended the Carnegie
Library’s annual budget hearing before the RAD Board in August. Not once did
Dr. Mistick indicate that any library was at risk for closing. When RAD made
their funding decisions, they had no idea a library facility might close---and
neither did the neighborhood! The Hill District neighborhood was not given
adequate notice of the Reading Center closing, to give them time to seek other options.
With all this talk of using
gambling money to build a new arena, it would be a much greater public service
to use some of that money to help keep our neighborhood libraries open!
With the closing of the Reading Center, there would be two city-owned library buildings
empty and unused—the other being the historic Hazelwood Branch Library
I know City budgets are
tight. However, for the Reading Center, would it be possible to have a Department of Parks
and Recreation staff member simply open the Reading Center, so children would have someplace to go for a few
hours after school each day? Most regular library services would no longer
exist, but the books and the computers could still be there for the children to
use. The City would have to ask Carnegie Library to maintain the computers, but
that would be all.
This would be a temporary
fix, but one which would allow the Reading Center to continue helping the young people in the
neighborhood. Please explore the possibility of limited operation of the Reading Center by the Department of Parks and Recreation.