Statement before the        Glenn A. Walsh

      Council of                  P.O. Box 1041

     The City of                  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

     Pittsburgh:                   Telephone: 412-561-7876

 Carnegie Library’s           Electronic Mail: < >

Allegheny Regional          Internet Site: <  >

    Branch Library                2008 January 15


Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. Today I am speaking as a private citizen representing no organization.


On December 27, the 134th Pittsburgh City Council approved the sale of land, to Carnegie Library, which will permit the abandonment of the historic Allegheny Regional Branch of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This will have significant and negative financial ramifications for the City of Pittsburgh.


In 1994, when The Carnegie Science Center abandoned the original Buhl Planetarium building, for nearly ten years the City of Pittsburgh had to maintain a “mothballed” historic building in the core of the historic Allegheny City business district, now known as Allegheny Center. Likewise, in 2004, when Carnegie Library abandoned the historic Hazelwood Library building, since that time the City of Pittsburgh has had to maintain a “mothballed” historic building only a block from the Second Avenue business district.


Once a new library building is finished and occupied on Federal Street, Carnegie Library will completely abandon the original Allegheny Regional Branch. Their primary reason for downsizing library services on the North Side is to save money. Hence, they will not continue to maintain two library buildings on the Lower North Side, just as The Carnegie Science Center refused to continue to maintain two science museum buildings on the Lower North Side. The older books on the second floor of the Allegheny Regional Branch will be moved back to Oakland, and the building will be turned-back to the City of Pittsburgh.


So, the City of Pittsburgh will have to maintain a second mothballed library branch for an indefinite period of time. But, unlike the Buhl Planetarium and Hazelwood Library examples, the Allegheny Regional Library can only be partially mothballed.


Unlike Buhl and the Hazelwood Library, the water pipes of the Allegheny Regional Library cannot be winterized because two other tenants of the building, the New Hazlett Theater and the Senior Citizen Center, require water service. Consequently, heat in the Allegheny Regional Branch section of the building can not be reduced much below +55 degrees Fahrenheit, lest water pipes near the exterior walls risk being frozen and possible bursting. Particularly considering the size of the Allegheny Regional Library building, which is larger than both Buhl and the Hazelwood Library, this will add significant additional costs to the City of Pittsburgh, for maintaining the Allegheny Regional Library building.


I would ask that the 135th Pittsburgh City Council reevaluate the advisability of allowing Carnegie Library to abandon the Allegheny Regional Library building.


Thank you.