Statement before the                Glenn A. Walsh

Library Association                  P.O. Box 1041

  Board of Directors:      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

  “Rightsizing” Plan        Telephone: 412-561-7876

       Could Close              Electronic Mail: < >

 Carnegie Libraries        Internet Web Site: < >

                                                                        2007 October 15


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


Within their Fiscal Year 2008 annual funding request to the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh informed RAD that next year they will form a “Commission on Libraries” to consider a system-wide “rightsizing” plan, which could include closing neighborhood library branches.


The grant application actually says, and I quote: “Initiative 2.1 - Conduct rightsizing plan to evaluate number and location of library, administrative, shipping and storage facilities” end-quote.


It further says, and I quote: “Initiative 2.2 – Complete neighborhood revitalization program to renovate/relocate all eligible Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh facilities, based on rightsizing plan” end-quote. Attached to this statement, on the reverse side, is an excerpt from Carnegie Library’s grant application to RAD, regarding this rightsizing plan.


There you have it. Next year, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s “Commission on Libraries” will decide which neighborhood branch libraries to close. And, of course, unless there is a library renovation, there was no mention in the grant application of any public input into this “Commission on Libraries” process!


When Herb Elish was Library Director, he promised that every neighborhood with a branch library would continue to have a branch library. Now, the new Library Director is reneging on this promise.


While the Lauri Ann West Memorial Library continues to work to preserve their Sharpsburg Branch, and the Carnegie Free Library of McKeesport continues to work to preserve their Duquesne Branch, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh may be the first ACLA library to begin closing neighborhood library branches! And, in fact, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has already abandoned the Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center; fortunately, the Upper Hill neighborhood is working to provide the Reading Center’s services to area children.


Yes, I have complained about this to both the RAD Board and to City Council. However, it is the mission of the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA) to provide library services, through its member libraries, to all county residents. The ACLA Board should look very critically at any member library which proposes to close neighborhood library branches.


I ask that the ACLA Board consider an official ACLA policy regarding any proposals to close neighborhood branch libraries. And, I ask that any such policy insist that any library process leading to such library closure decisions, including any so-called “Commission on Libraries,” fully comply with the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law.


Thank you.




Attachment (Reverse Side): Page 37 of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh fiscal year 2008 grant request to the

  Allegheny Regional Asset District, regarding Library System “rightsizing” plan.