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For the first nine months of 2012 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh engaged stakeholders, community members, staff and board in setting the future direction of the Library. Here, Mary Frances Cooper, President & Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, addresses the process and the plan.

Why a strategic plan? Why such an inclusive process?

Like any organization, the Library will do best with a road map to help guide our future, but we wanted to be sure that our vision was not crafted in isolation. We needed the community's insight to help us carefully and strategically identify opportunities to improve, develop and extend library services.

Together, we did just that.

Photo of Mary Frances Cooper, President & Director of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Mary Frances Cooper,
President & Director,
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh


How did you arrive at these goals?

I think our Strategic Plan reflects the right path for the Library at this time with six attainable goals. Throughout the process, we received pages upon pages of fantastic ideas to help us move into the future. We held our first round of community meetings in February to explore opportunities for the Library. In July, we used additional workshops to discuss and refine these opportunities. Based on that input, staff and board worked to formulate the Library's Strategic Plan. We gathered a third round of public input on the draft plan before our full board voted on it.

What excites you most about the plan?

Everything! It's a great time to be a part of the Library - we have such a bright future. Goal six is particularly inspiring for me - empowering staff to create a positive library experience for everyone. That's what people want and deserve.

Does the Library still value books or will you move to digital formats?

Printed books are absolutely a part of our future. A report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project stated that young eBook readers don't want eBooks to replace print books. I don't see one replacing the other. They complement each another and both have a place in the Library. As we move forward, we'll continue to strike the right balance of print and digital collections.

Does the Strategic Plan define Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's role in the county?

Our plan calls for additional county-wide areas of collaboration to make the best use of funding and provide quality library service. I look forward to strengthening partnerships with the Allegheny County Library Association that will support high quality library services for the region.

What role does funding play?

The community benefits from a fiscally sound library system. Andrew Carnegie believed that a library outranks any other one thing that a community can do to benefit its people. He also believed that the public would support such a vital community asset. Our community has been fantastic - rallying and being extremely vocal in its support of library services.

We intend to implement the recommendations of the Public-Private Task Force on Sustainable Funding, including plans to develop other sources of funding. Individuals, foundations, corporations and government all have a role. We'll also be looking at how to grow our endowment.

The Six Goals of the Strategic Plan for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Within the Library Walls

We will be an anchor for the community and provide welcoming and meaningful experiences to everyone who enters our buildings.

The Library in Your Neighborhood, Community and School

We will engage and impact people where they live, work, shop and belong.

The Library in a Changing World of Information

We will stay abreast of the changing ways that information is packaged and delivered.

Library Funding and Contributions

We will focus on attaining long-term fiscal health, making it easier for people to contribute in ways that are meaningful to them and useful to the Library.

Measuring and Sharing the Library's Impact

We will know the impact of our services on individuals and the community and be able to tell our story effectively.

Staff and Organizational Culture

We will engage our customers and our community through an internal culture of curiosity, thoughtful exploration and superior service.

>> Check out the Library's new Strategic Plan! Detailed summaries of our long-term goals are online at >>