RE2: Walsh v. Carnegie Library, Docket AP 2009-1150
From: "Glenn A. Walsh" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
To: "AudreyBuglione" < email@example.com >
"Glenn A. Walsh" < firstname.lastname@example.org >
From: Glenn A. Walsh
Copy: Carolyn D. Duronio, Reed Smith LLP
Subject: Additional Comments
The "Position Paper on Behalf of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh," issued by Reed Smith LLC, provides legal rationale why the Open Records Law, per se, does not apply to Carnegie Library. This position paper does not, at all, address Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Code, Section 141.21, Subsection (2), Part (i), Subpart (C) which states:
"In approving and disapproving plans for the use of State funds by local libraries, decisions of the State Librarian will be determined by the following criteria:..
"(i) Structure and government of library service. The structure and government of library service shall conform with the following:...
“(C) The library shall be an integral part of general local government.”
The intent of this section is to have public libraries, funded by the state, be considered under state law to be an agency of local government, even if the public library is actually operated by a private association. This regulation was approved, even though it was well known that many, many (perhaps even most) public libraries in
Title 22, Section 141.21 was written to deal with state funding of public libraries. Hence, it is my contention that when a Pennsylvania public library accepts funding from the state, under Title 22, Section 141.21 they automatically admit and accept the fact that, under state law, they will be considered an agency of local government, and hence, are then required to comply with all state statutes applicable to municipalities including the Open Records Law and the Sunshine Act.
At Andrew Carnegie's specific request, the City of
Carnegie Library, apparently, argues that Title 22, Section 141.21 should be ignored. Why would other regulations be observed but this one regulation be ignored?
Title 22, Section 141.21 was written for a reason. It was the intent that, under state law, state-funded public libraries, even those not operated by a municipality, be considered an agency of local government, and thus have the obligation to comply with all state statutes all other agencies of local government must comply with, including the Open Records Law and the Sunshine Act.
In the "Position Paper on Behalf of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh," it is also stated: "The Library similarly fails to qualify as a “local agency”. At that time of the Library’s creation in 1890, there was no statute pursuant to which the Library could have been created."
That is not true. Several years prior to the 1890 February 25 creation of the Carnegie Free Libraries of the City of
At that time, the City Solicitor ruled that Cities of the Second Class (of which
In the next few years, the City asked the General Assembly to enact a law that permitted Cities of the Second Class to use tax funds for funding public libraries. This was accomplished, allowing the City to ask Andrew Carnegie to renew his offer.
Ironically, Andrew Carnegie refused to renew the $250,000 offer to build a library for the city. In those few years, he saw that the city had grown so much, that, instead, he offered one million dollars to build a library system for the city, including several branch libraries. With this offer, he did require the city to provide an annual subsidy of no less than $40,000. This is the offer that was gratefully accepted by the City of
So, by 1890 February 25, the Pennsylvania General Assembly had enacted a statute pursuant to which the Library could have been created.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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