Statement before the Glenn A. Walsh
Electronic Mail: < email@example.com >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
2004 November 23
Good morning, I am Glenn A. Walsh of
Yesterday, at the annual Carnegie Library Budget Hearing, Councilman Doug Shields made a very interesting observation. He noted that once previously City-operated assets, such as the Aviary and the Zoo, were privatized, they were improved resulting in increasing revenue. However, when Carnegie Library is improved, it receives a greater demand for public services yet receives no additional revenue based on that demand.
In particular, Mr. Shields noted that the demand for books at Carnegie Library has now increased due to the improved services. Yet, Carnegie Library does not have the funds to increase its collection to meet the increased demand.
I would like to point-out that one of the reasons Carnegie Library’s collection is smaller than what is needed is due to their own decision, several years ago, to discard books and magazines, which made the collection smaller. When I served as a Life Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania in the late 1990s, some of Carnegie Library’s discarded books were sent to our Library!
And, one of the reasons they have chosen to discard books is because they are now moving libraries to smaller locations. The Hazelwood Branch Library is a perfect example. The current rental unit used as a library branch in Hazelwood is smaller than the historic branch library building they moved out of. Thus, they have fewer books, by necessity, at the new site than they had at the original branch building.
And, this situation is aggravated by the fact that, with the Squirrel Hill Branch closed for renovation, there is a much greater demand on the Hazelwood Branch for books. If they had to move the Hazelwood Branch, they should have at least waited until the Squirrel Hill Branch was reopened.
Now, they will tell you that they only discarded old books and magazines, which in general is true. However, a lot of these older books and magazines could fit the needs of some patrons—particularly considering that Carnegie Library cannot, now, afford to replace all of the books being discarded. So, for certain subjects, the public has to do without.
Yes, of course, new books and materials will always be in demand and should be purchased. However, when collection development funds are limited, as they currently are at Carnegie Library, older books and magazines should not be discarded.