Statement before the        Glenn A. Walsh

Board of Directors            P.O. Box 1041

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

   Asset District:                Telephone: 412-561-7876

Performance Audit           Electronic Mail: < >

    For ACLA                     Internet Site: < >

2007 February 26


Good evening. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, a former Treasurer, Life Trustee, and ACLA Delegate for the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Carnegie, Pennsylvania. I left ACLA in 1999 and the Library in 2000 and now speak only as a private citizen.


I applaud your directive seeking a performance audit for the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA). For years, ACLA has used a simple-majority vote of the membership to try to force a metropolitanism agenda for county libraries, on all independent libraries in the county—while still expecting independent municipalities to fund a large percentage of an independent library’s annual budget. Such an audit should clearly delineate the limited powers of the ACLA authority and the powers reserved to independent libraries—similar to the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.


I also applaud your scope-of-work to include the consultant’s discussion with board members and management of each independent library. I would like you to consider a small expansion of this scope-of-work to include a public meeting, at each ACLA library, so the consultant can get a good idea of what library services are important to the general public. I urge you to ask the consultant hired to include such public meetings in their outreach efforts when seeking information for the performance audit.


Now, this is described as a performance audit, yet the focus seems to be the distribution formula. Does this mean that ACLA’s largest member, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh which receives more than twice the amount in RAD funds as ACLA receives, will be ignored in this audit? If so, then perhaps a separate performance audit should be considered for Carnegie Library.


A county-wide study of library services was recently completed, and released by ACLA. One of the findings was that the public seeks more printed materials in county libraries. This runs counter to the current ACLA policy, specifically expressed in the existing ACLA formula—the Turnover Rate criterion, which financially penalizes libraries which maintain a large collection size, even though such a large collection drives-down the Turnover Rate ratio of circulation to collection size.


The Andrew Carnegie Free Library, in their effort to keep the library open considering the diminished tax base of Carnegie Borough due to the recent flood, has cut their collection size almost in half, to maximize RAD funds from this formula criterion. This is probably the most extreme example, but other libraries may be making collection cuts for the same reason.


This Turnover Rate criterion must be completely eliminated from any ACLA policy or formula, to stop the discarding of books and other library materials from county libraries. From ACLA’s own study, it is now clear that the public wants library policies which increase library materials, not reduce library materials. I ask that you seek the elimination of the Turnover Rate criterion in all future ACLA policies and formulas.


Thank you.