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Community Update -
August 5, 2010

In 2009, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh struggled to close the gap between increasing costs and declining revenues, due primarily to state budget cuts and level RAD funding. CLP projected a $5 million deficit by 2014 and presented an Action Plan, which included increases in fines, fees and fundraising; reductions in library services and staffing as well as branch consolidations, relocations and closures. Major portions of that Action Plan are currently on hold until January 2011 as the Library works to find long-term dedicated funding.

The Library and the community have been working together to find options for dedicated long-term funding. The following report outlines important milestones and progress made since April 26, 2010. A Community Updates outlining important milestones from the first quarter of 2010 is also available.

The Library is committed to ongoing dialogue and information sharing with the community through reports such as this, press releases following Board meetings and the Community Conversation process.


City Library Funding

To keep Library facilities open in 2010, the City of Pittsburgh committed to one-time, stop-gap funding totaling $1,240,000. The first contribution of $600,000 was made from the city's 2009 budget and was received by the Library in early July 2010. Pittsburgh City Council and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl reaffirmed the Library's need by approving an additional $640,000 out of the city's 2010 budget.


State Library Funding

In June, Pennsylvania's 2010-2011 budget was approved, with drastic cuts to state-wide library funding. Under the current budget, funding will be reduced by $5.7 million to $62.5 million, which represents a cut of 8.4% in total state funding. For Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh this would mean a potential reduction in funding of more than $600,000, including funding for basic library aid and services provided by the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. This creates a larger short-term gap than originally projected for 2011.

Coupled with with last year's 30% reduction in state funding, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has lost approximately $2 million in state funding since 2009, and receives less state aid today than it did in 2000.


2011 Budget Request Submitted to RAD

Each July, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh submits an annual budget request to its primary funder, the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). RAD funds regional assets, such as libraries, parks and other cultural institutions, from one-half of the proceeds of the 1% Allegheny County Sales and Use Tax.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's 2011 budget request of $19,324,700 represents a 9.8% increase over 2010 to enable it to maintain library hours, locations, programs and services to the Pittsburgh region while it continues to seek long-term funding. At its current funding level the Library is projecting a $1.7 million deficit for 2011. Even with the requested increase, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's 2011 budget submission permits the Library to perform only the basic public services in terms of library hours, programming, new materials and staffing. The Library continues to explore all ways to cut expenses and increase revenues. Yet, the cost of running even a basic Library system with no enhancements continues to rise.

The Library's Web site hosts a news release and the full submission.

The Library will present its budget request to the RAD board in person on Tuesday, August 24 at 5:30 p.m.


Long-term Funding Solutions

The Library has been actively engaged in a number of efforts to improve its financial outlook. A 10-member Public-Private Task Force on Sustainable Funding has been working to identify ideas and funding opportunities. Since April, Task Force members have met six times to explore potential revenue opportunities, both public and private. The Task Force has researched and discussed many ideas including voluntary contributions, increased revenue from existing sources and the creation of new public revenue streams. They are assessing the feasibility of each of these ideas by considering such factors as the revenue potential, the amount of time it would take to implement each option, the political implications and the likelihood of public support. The Task Force will release a report of its findings this fall.


Community Conversation

Simultaneously, a three-part Community Engagement Process is engaging the public, Library staff and trustees and several other key stakeholders in an open and transparent discussion about the Library's future. The Community Conversations started in May by identifying the challenges and opportunities facing the library. From there, library users, staff, board members and task force members have developed ideas to address those challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. The July series of workshops tested ideas and asked the community to discuss the types of choices the Library has in terms of service areas. More than 200 people attended both the May and the July Workshops, with another 370 providing feedback online in May. Online feedback on the July discussion topics will be accepted through August 6.


May Board Meeting

As Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees met on May 10, the focus was on community engagement and the critical need to identify long-term sustainable funding for the Library system. The Library's Finance Committee reviewed the Special Audit released by RAD and discussed preliminary factors that will affect the Library's future budget projections. The Board's agenda also included an update on the Library's tenth capital project to be completed under its $55 million capital campaign. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-East Liberty will open with a Community Celebration on August 27 and 28. In other actions, the Board of Trustees ratified a Diversity Plan, which meets the requirements set by the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) and was submitted with the Library's 2011 funding application. Resolutions to refinance the Library's capital bond and to approve the Library's annual audit report from Maher Duessel were also passed.


Fundraising and Advocacy

2009 Annual Report

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's 2009 Annual Report is now available online.

The Annual Report communicates detailed information with customers, donors and foundations and also thanks and recognizes donors for their contributions. The Annual Report demonstrates how the Library uses its resources to meet its vision and mission of engaging the community in literacy and learning. The printed version is a valuable tool throughout the year as staff and board meet with potential funders. This year the Library reduced the size and quantity of the printed version of the Annual Report and provided a more robust online version.

Donor Plus Library Card Program

As of June 30, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Donor Plus library card program has raised $39,870 in operating support for the Library. This is $12,585 more than was raised in the same period of 2009, representing a 46% increase in funds raised. A number of CLP's neighborhood libraries have experienced significant increases in Donor Plus applications since its re-launch during National Library Week in April. A Donor Plus Card is an excellent way to show support for the Library.

Increasing Fundraising

The Development Office continues to implement strategies to diversify and increase the Library's fundraising base. A third major fundraising appeal will coincide with National Library Card Month in September. The Library's direct mail appeals reach 70,000+ households per year. Coinciding email appeals currently reach 35,000+ email addresses. In addition, the Library has increased the number of grant applications submitted to family foundations, foundations and corporations (more than 70 foundation and 40 corporation proposals are submitted each year).


The yellow "Pittsburgh Protect Your Library: Write, Give, Talk" button on the Library's home page provides frequently updated action steps for anyone in the community. Here, people can learn how to help the library through letters, phone calls and other advocacy steps. Advocates sent hundreds of letters to state elected officials during the recent State Budget deliberations.


Financial Detail

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees recognizes the need to provide a new level of budget detail for Library stakeholders. One common request has been to provide branch-level detail for expenses. The Board's Finance Committee has released two spreadsheets with detail of the 2010 Operating Budget and two spreadsheets of actual costs for 2009. The first spreadsheet for each year breaks out expenses into the categories of Branches; Main Library; Administrative; and Technical, District and Youth Services. The second spreadsheet for each year further breaks out the Branch category by location. The slight increase in budget from 2009 to 2010 reflects the fact that operations and budget were cut significantly in 2009 in unsustainable ways. The Library's overall operating budget for 2010 is still less than it was in 2008.

You will find this information as well as additional detail about the Library posted on the Library's Background Information page.

Photo Gallery

View this photo gallery of recent events and happenings throughout the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh System.

carnegielibrarypgh's Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Events photoset carnegielibrarypgh's Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Events photoset