Statement before the Glenn A. Walsh
Asset District Telephone: 412-561-7876
Electronic Mail: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
2005 October 3
Good evening, I am Glenn A.
At the present time, the Sharpsburg Library is scheduled to close next month. If this does happen, it will be the first RAD-funded library to close since the formation of the Regional Asset District. This is not a precedent that any of us should want to see being set.
Fortunately, meetings are occurring that may prevent this closure; I attended one such meeting September 22. Mr. Donahoe also attended this meeting, as did County Councilman Edward Kress, representatives from the offices of State Senator Jim Ferlo and State Representative Frank Pistella, the Sharpsburg Mayor and most of Sharpsburg Council, and two members of the Fox Chapel School Board. Notably absent from this meeting was any representative from the Allegheny County Library Association.
I want to thank Mr. Pierchalski for asking the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA) Executive Director, on August 29, about the proposed closure of the Sharpsburg Library, as her annual budget presentation made no mention of the Sharpsburg Library despite comments from the public she heard earlier in the meeting. Her reply was as disappointing as it was predictable.
Certainly, there are many local issues involved in the operation of a local library. However, when the Regional Asset District spends nearly $24 million each year on county libraries, the potential closing of a public library should be a great concern to this Board.
And, ACLA, which heralds themselves as a “federated county library system,” should be proactive in efforts to keep libraries open and held accountable when a library closes. Of course, the primary way to hold ACLA accountable is with money.
The Regional Asset District should adopt a policy that if a public library closes, the annual RAD subsidy to ACLA is reduced by a certain percentage. Why should taxpayer funds to this “federated county library system” increase, or even stay the same, if a community loses their library? If there are fewer libraries for ACLA to fund, ACLA should not be distributing the same amount of money as when they had more libraries to fund.
Such a policy would serve as an incentive for ACLA to be proactive in efforts to keep libraries open to the public!