Statement before the        Glenn A. Walsh

   Public Hearing of          P.O. Box 1041

      Pittsburgh                   Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

     City Council:                Telephone: 412-561-7876

 Carnegie Library’s           Electronic Mail: < >

Allegheny Regional          Internet Site: <  >

    Branch Library                2007 December 18


Good evening. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon. From 1995 to 2000, I was a Life Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, and I author a web site on the History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries at < > Today I am speaking as a private citizen representing no organization.


Attached to this statement are letters from a few people, who could not attend this hearing, who support the continued use of the Allegheny Regional Library building as a library. Two of these statements are from community groups in Newnan, Georgia, who successfully fought to restore library service in their historic Carnegie Library, after the library was moved to a new building 20 years earlier. They implore us not to make the mistake, of abandoning a historic and usable Carnegie Library building, which was made in their community in 1987.


The proposal is to build a new library building three blocks north of the present Allegheny Regional Library. When one spends donated money to duplicate an already existing facility, that is money that cannot be used for other community needs. This community has many needs, and despite the fact that Pittsburgh is blessed with a wonderful foundation community, donor dollars are still limited!


The historic Allegheny Regional Library has served the public, admirably, for more than 115 years. 30 years ago, the Library went through a complete and comprehensive renovation. Further, over the last decade the Library has been wired and equipped for computers, the Internet, and other new technologies. The Allegheny Regional Library is quite capable of serving the 21st century needs of the public. And, even Carnegie Library’s own statistics have rated the Allegheny Regional Library as the 5th busiest library in the city system—and, this is despite the current closure of Federal and Ohio Streets!


Donor dollars could be much more efficiently and effectively spent on improvements to the existing library. And, the actual improvements needed for the existing building would be much more limited than the “Taj Mahal” wish-list that current Carnegie Library management has proposed. The basic library already exists.


Moving the library would require more donor dollars to rehab the existing library into another use. Board of Education Superintendent Roosevelt has already stated that the School District can not afford to rehab the Library building into an academic use. If the School District cannot afford the rehab, who else could? Hence, the Library would sit empty and unused for years, as the historic Hazelwood Branch with a 250-seat auditorium is currently sitting empty and unused for nearly four years—with no change in sight.


$2 million of insurance money has been spent to repair the Allegheny Regional Library. The Lower North Side deserves library service now! The Allegheny Regional Library should be reopened to the public within the next three months.


Thank you.