Library in Financial trouble
Andrew Carnegie Free Library of Carnegie Director, Mary Malysko, is
leaving for another
job.(Joe Appel/Tribune-Review photo)
By Carolyn Fitzwilliam
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library in Carnegie will close for three weeks
beginning Dec. 20 as trustees try to keep the
struggling library afloat financially.
The library is scheduled to reopen Jan. 10, though without library
director Mary Malysko, who is leaving Dec. 13 to take
another library job in Pittsburgh. She declined to be more specific.
Malysko, who has been the director for 5 ½ years, said her
decision is not directly related to the financial instability of the
library, but it was a factor. "Not knowing if you are going to have
a job next week ... not knowing if you are going to be paid ... it's
stressful," she said. "But I do love this place."
It is the first time in several years the nearly 100-year-old library has
closed its doors for an extended period, according to
Betsy Martin, president of the library's board of trustees. "We've closed
in the summer before, but this will save us more
money," she said. The library also was closed for a "few months" in the
late 1980s, and Martin said the last summer closure
may have been around the same time.
Robert Valeriano, library treasurer, said the trustees are hoping to save
between $5,000 and $6,000 by closing for three
weeks. The move will not solve the financial difficulties that have
existed for years and have been a political flashpoint between
trustees and borough council, however. The trustees claim the borough
must offer more help. "It all hinges on how much money
we get from the borough," Martin said.
The borough, which gave $5,000 this year, said it is doing all it can. As
much as $25,000 may be available from the borough
next year. However, council members want to see some changes in the way
the building is managed. "Council does not want to
see the library close," council President Larry Harkovich said. "But I
don't know if (our help) is just a Band-Aid. What's going
to happen in March, April or next November?"
It costs about $8,000 a month to operate the library, including utilities
and payroll. The library owes more than $3,000 in
overdue bills now and is facing two more payrolls totaling more than
$4,000 before it closes Dec. 20.
Most of the money the library uses comes from the state, Regional Asset
District and contributions. Martin said the $25,000
"would help us tremendously," and probably would be enough to sustain the
library throughout next year. A special advisory
board also is working to secure large grants for capital improvements,
but those may be a long time in coming.
The financial troubles aren't likely to make it easy to find a
replacement for Malysko. "Under these circumstances, it's going to
be very awkward," Martin said. "But this is good for Mary. We can't
afford to pay her enough."
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