Statement before the        Glenn A. Walsh

Allegheny County             P.O. Box 1041

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

Board of Directors:           Telephone: 412-561-7876

Carnegie Library              Electronic Mail: < >

      Closings                         Internet Site: <  >

                                                2009 October 19


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


At the beginning of this month, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh announced the closings of four public libraries, consolidation of two more, the move of one library, and the closing of their Allegheny Depository archives facility. And, this may just be the beginning of library closures in Allegheny County.


What greater issue is there for the Allegheny County Library Association to discuss? These proposed closures risk the very reason-for-being of the Allegheny County Library Association!


On September 15, I was the guest speaker at the reopening of a Carnegie Library in suburban Atlanta, which had been closed for 22 years! The Newnan, Georgia Carnegie Library made history by being the first Carnegie Library building—and probably the first library building of any type—to close, be reused for another purpose (as a courthouse annex), then converted back to library service! Attached, on the reverse side of this statement, is a news article regarding this library reopening.


If they can reopen their library after 22 years, then certainly we could reopen library branches once the economy improves.


I am not asking that ACLA provide money to keep open the libraries proposed for closure; this is not the proper role for ACLA.  I do ask that ACLA approve a resolution indicating that it is ACLA’s position that the proposed closure of any library in Allegheny County, on financial grounds, must be considered temporary.


Any member library proposing to close branches, or even their main library, should provide ACLA a written plan regarding how they will reopen such closed libraries once the economic conditions improve. There should also be a requirement that, at least once a year, the member library which closed branches make written justification to ACLA why each branch must remain closed.


ACLA has sought and achieved the designation of Federated Library System in Pennsylvania. What is the point of such a Federated Library System if ACLA does not take a firm position opposing permanent library closures?


Thank you.