5:30 p.m., MONDAY, MARCH 29, 2004

       Statement before                 Glenn A. Walsh

    Allegheny Regional                     P.O. Box 1041

           Asset District:                               Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

     Abandonment of                           Telephone: 412-561-7876

   Historic Hazelwood  &        Electronic Mail: < >

Lawrenceville                          Internet Web Site: < >

       Library Buildings            2004 March 29


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


Despite the opposition of the majority of residents in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hazelwood, on March 13 The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh closed the historic Hazelwood Library building built by Andrew Carnegie in 1900. And, now, the historic Lawrenceville Library building is next on Carnegie Library’s hit-list. According to the Library staff, they plan to have a neighborhood meeting about moving the library out of the historic 1898 building in May or later in the Summer.


The Lawrenceville Library is a true library pioneer:

Ø       First of more than one hundred neighborhood branch libraries built by Andrew Carnegie in the United States

Ø       First specifically designed and constructed library Children’s Room

Ø       First library specifically designed to allow the public direct access to the book stacks, including a central circulation desk

Ø       Building design became a model for Carnegie Libraries throughout the world


Next to the historic Lawrenceville Library building is the Stephen Foster Community Center, which includes a senior citizen center and scheduled programs for youth, including a Tiny Tots program which takes pre-school children to the Lawrenceville Library frequently! What better place to have a library than next to a multi-purpose community center!


Although Carnegie Library complains there is little parking near the Library, Library patrons regularly use the community center’s parking lot next to the Library, including during special events in the Library’s large auditorium; Stephen Foster Center staff told me they have no objection to this. All that is now needed is for the Library to obtain permission to use the parking lot after the 4:00 p.m. closing of the community center.


Since the City only gives the Library system $40,000 per year, the people’s representatives in City Council no longer have much influence over Carnegie Library management decisions. With this year’s RAD grant to Carnegie Library being more than $16 million, the Board of Directors of the Allegheny Regional Asset District is the only funding body that can realistically influence the use, by Carnegie Library, of taxpayer money.


At last year’s Carnegie Library budget hearing before the RAD Board, Library Director Herb Elish said he would not move the Hazelwood Library until the neighborhood was consulted. Yet, at the neighborhood meeting in September, he told the audience that the decision to move the library had already been made! How can this, truly, be considered “consulting with the neighborhood”?


I ask that this Board tell, yes tell, Carnegie Library that they must hold at least one widely-publicized meeting, open to the general public, before any official, or even unofficial, decisions are made to move a library. And, unlike the token neighborhood meeting in Hazelwood last year, you must tell Carnegie Library that they must really listen to the wishes of the majority of residents of the neighborhood. In the case of Lawrenceville, it is urgent that this be done right away.


If this Board does nothing, you will be allowing a bureaucracy to utilize taxpayer money with no accountability to the people—once again, taxation without representation!


Thank you.