Statement before                    Glenn A. Walsh

Pittsburgh City Council --          P.O. Box 1041

   Historic Hazelwood                      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

     Library Building:                         Telephone: 412-561-7876

        City Council                    Electronic Mail: < >

        Public Hearing                               Internet Web Site: < >

                                                                                2003 November 5


Good afternoon. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. Today, I am representing no formal organization.


108 years ago, today, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh started service to the residents of the City of Pittsburgh--paid for almost completely by the tax dollars of City, County, and State residents.
Yet, this morning’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Carnegie Library, only a week and a half ago, signed a lease for the proposed new library space—even though they knew a public hearing before City Council was scheduled for today. This arrogant behavior is not surprising. On September 9, Carnegie Library officials told about 75 Hazelwood residents at a meeting, in the auditorium they intend to abandon, that the Library move was a done-deal, despite the fact that the majority of the residents in attendance opposed the proposed library move. Yet, Carnegie Library Director Herb Elish had told the Regional Asset District Board, just two weeks earlier, that no decision would be made until the neighborhood residents were consulted.
The decision to move the library was made by the Carnegie Library Board of Trustees, behind closed doors, which is in direct violation of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act and the Pennsylvania Library Code. According to the Pennsylvania Library Code, all public libraries receiving State funding are considered legal extensions of municipal government, and hence, are all subject to the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act.
In the Trust agreement that set-up Carnegie Library, Andrew Carnegie stipulated that the Library created by his Trust must comply with State law. The current Carnegie Library Board is in violation of State law, so long as board meetings are not held in complete compliance with the Pennsylvania Library Code and Pennsylvania Sunshine Act.
Despite Carnegie Library’s blatant disregard for the wishes of the people of the Hazelwood neighborhood, Carnegie Library continues to implore Pittsburgh residents to contact the Governor and State Legislators for more library funding from the State. And, according to the Post-Gazette article, library money will now be used to pay property taxes, while the original building is tax-exempt! Why would city residents spend their time trying to help Carnegie Library, when Carnegie Library officials refuse to listen to the residents they serve—and who pay their salaries.
Carnegie Library is acting as if they are a private corporation able to do as they please. Carnegie Library is a public institution, housed in publicly-owned buildings, with the vast majority of their funding coming from County and State taxpayers. The taxpayers have every right to expect such a public institution to comply with their wishes. And, this is what Andrew Carnegie wanted; otherwise, Andrew Carnegie would not have built public libraries !

The historic Hazelwood Branch Library building is owned by the City of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Library’s abandonment of this building will mean that there will be, yet, another boarded-up building in the neighborhood for many years to come. Due to the dilapidated state of the building, due to Carnegie Library’s deferred maintenance, no one will want to buy that building anytime soon—if ever!


Several of you sit on the Carnegie Library Board of Trustees. I ask that you insist that Carnegie Library abide by the wishes of the majority of Hazelwood residents and stop the proposed move of the Hazelwood Library, out of the historic building that has successfully hosted the library for more than 103 years.


Thank you.