Thu, 9 Aug 2007 17:49:28 -0700 (PDT)


"Glenn A. Walsh" <>  View Contact Details  View Contact Details   Add Mobile Alert
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Comments: Olszak Report


"Lisa M. Olszak" <>


"Glenn A. Walsh" <>

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To:   Lisa Olszak

From: Glenn A. Walsh


The following are some comments from reading your

report's recommendations:


* Formula Development Process: I agree that a new

formula development process, completely member-driven,

should be implemented. I agree the length of time

seems adequate. I also agree that a consultant, rather

than the current ACLA management, should run such a

process; this would give the process greater



However, I do caution that there should be no

implication that the formula must be complex, simply

because all of this time is being spent on the

process. Often the simplist answers are the most



* Overarching Organizational Issues - I VERY MUCH

agree that time should be spent resolving critical

overarching organizational issues, including mission

and purpose. As I mentioned in my public hearing

statement, the beginning of ACLA was rushed [to become

eligible for RAD funding] and often only included

library directors from the larger libraies in the more

affluent communities [because the library directors

from the smaller libraries had to continue operating

their libraries and could not delegate their tasks

while they went off to "play ACLA."].


* State Funding - I agree that State funding should be

removed from the ACLA formula. The State has their own

criteria for funding, which should be respected.


* Materials Expenditures - Using materials

expenditures as one of the baseline criteria still

creates the problem of rich libraries versus poor

libraries. Rich libraries can easily outspend poor

libraries--does this mean that rich libraries should

receive more RAD funds? I say no!


In the vast majority of cases, poor libraries would

gladly spend as much on materials as rich libraries,

if they had the money available to do so! Often, the

ability to spend money on materials is not under the

control of the library. This is determined by the

wealth, or lack of, of the municipality or

municipalities, in their service area, contributing to

the library.


If a criterion at all, it should have very little

weight in the entire forumula--just weight enough that

a certain minimum expenditure is expected each year.


* Performance Incentives - Performance incentives are

all well and good. But, again, in many cases the

library has no control over their "performance." The

amount of local funding they receive often limits

their performance. I do not agree that libraries

should be judged on something over which they have no



Now, you do mention some items over which the library

may have some control. However, you must realize that

after a certain length of time, no matter how hard the

library tries, they will likely hit "the law of

diminishing returns." This would be particularly true

in western Pennsylvania towns which have no population

growth--or worse--are losing industry, jobs, and

population--again, problems that are beyond the

control of the local library. These are just the

libraries that do need funding, yet depending on how

the performance measures are calculated, they could be

inelegible for performance measure funding.


* Entitlements - You state that libraries should

realize that performance measures funding should not

be considered an entitlement. SAYS WHO?


Who has already decided that a certain percentage of

the RAD funds should be allocated in a way that is not

an entitlement? This is taxpayer money that is quite

limited. It needs to be allocated in such a way to

provide a maximum of library service in Allegheny

County--and, one of the factors is the continuation of

a maximum number of library locations, as is

financially feasible.


Up until now, about 45 libraries in Allegheny County,

along with some branch libraries, have been considered

feasible. Anything that would reduce that number is

suspect--because, it would benefit the remaining

libraries with additional RAD funds!


* Floor and Ceiling Limits - Although I agree that

these limits may be a good idea, I still question

whether a formula is too complex and inequitable if

such limits are actually needed. Once an equitable

funding distribution is determined, there should not

be huge fluctuations, from one year to another, for

any particular library.


* Collaborative Incentive - The proposed Collaborative

Incentive seems to me to simply add another layer of

bureaucracy for grant review and awarding. It might be

simpler to use the collaborative process already in

place--the ACLA suburban regions. Allocate an equal

amount of collaborative funding, each year, to each

suburban library region. Collaborative programs

proposed by each region could be approved each year by

the ACLA Board.


* Public Input on Formula Committee - Again, as I

mentioned at the ACLA meeting, due to the fact that

the distribution deals with taxpayer money, one member

of the general public from each region should be

included in the formula committee.




Glenn A. Walsh

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