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Sustaining our Future: Community Update

March 2, 2011

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh values our relationship with the community and believes that creating an open dialogue about our library system is important. Through updates, such as this, we hope to achieve a mutual understanding among our Board of Trustees, staff and community members about the future of the Library in terms of both funding and services.

We remain committed to securing long-term, dedicated funding that will enable us to provide the optimal level of Library service you have come to expect, now and well into the future. We continue to rely on you, our community, to support the Library with your words, your actions and your donations.


Public Private Task Force's Final Recommendations

The Honorable Frank Lucchino, Chair of the Public Private Task Force on Sustainable Library Funding and Library Trustee, presented the Task Force's final report to the Library's Board of Trustees on January 20, 2011.

The independent Task Force recommended a multi-pronged approach which addresses the feedback provided by the community in 2010 during the Library's Community Conversation workshops. Together, these recommendations have the potential to provide Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh with an additional $5 to $7 million annually. The two primary strategies and six specific tactics provide a funding solution that is shared by all aspects of the community:

  1. Protect and grow current library funding:
    1. Improve advocacy and increase individual giving by building a culture of library supporters.
    2. Secure annual increases from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).
    3. Secure increases in corporate contributions.
    4. Work with local/state entities to develop tax incentive programs for corporate and individual donors.
  2. Initiate new funding streams:
    1. Provide the citizens of Pittsburgh an opportunity to vote on whether dedicated funding support should be provided to the Library.
    2. Launch a library endowment campaign.

A copy of the full Task Force report is available here.


"Sustaining Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh"

Benchmarking study of high-performing libraries

As part of the Public Private Task Force's research, a benchmarking study of high-performing libraries was conducted by UPMC interns at the request of member Scott H. Lammie, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, UPMC Insurance Services. The Report, "Sustaining Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh," concludes that the Library has one of the smallest operating budgets for an urban library and regional library system of its size and stature.

The study states, "Virtually all benchmark metrics confirm that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is now chronically under-spending in staff resources, collections and other basic infrastructure support. The range of under-spending is estimated to be in the 10-15% range for a library of CLP's size based on various benchmark measures. While other library systems are now facing severe funding cuts, their baseline per capita spending rates remain significantly in excess of CLP's, particularly among the high-performing library systems."

A copy of "Sustaining Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh" is available here.


America's Most Literate Cities 2010

Pittsburgh ranks 5th in the nation.

Central Connecticut State University released its annual Most Literate Cities list on January 10, 2011. The study ranks the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the United States on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. Pittsburgh ranks 5th in the nation - down one place from 2009. Pittsburgh was ranked 3rd in terms of library support, holdings, staffing and utilization.


February 2011 Board of Trustees Meeting

Approves First Step in Voter Initiative for Library Funding

At its regular meeting, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees heard committee reports and approved related action items. Committees reported on their assigned tasks related to the multi-pronged long term funding solution proposed by the Joint Committee on Sustainable Funding and approved by the board in January.

Among the first steps, the board approved the Carey Group as consultants to work with the Joint Committee on Sustainable Funding, staff and board on a potential voter initiative for library funding. Patrick Millham and Kevin Kinross of the Carey Group will begin to meet with Library and community groups to explore the possibility of an initiative.

As part of the Library's multi-pronged funding strategy to focus on operating support for libraries, board and staff representatives of both Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Free Library of Philadelphia will meet with State elected officials during a Legislative Breakfast on Wednesday, March 2 in Harrisburg. During the breakfast participants will discuss the critical need for ongoing State funding and begin a dialog with State elected officials about funding important tax incentive programs for library donors.


Community Committee Members

Appointed to help the board better engage the community in the decision-making and work of the Library

During the Board of Trustees February meeting, the Committee on Trusteeship announced the appointment of seven community committee members who will serve one-year terms on board committees. Representing a cross-section of neighborhoods, these committee members will help the board better engage the community in the decision-making and work of the Library; provide an ongoing dialog with the community and increase diversity on the committees.

  • Heather Benedict Terrell, Development Committee
    Lawyer and Published Author, Sewickley
  • Constance Horton, External Relations Committee
    Executive Director, Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education (FAME), Penn Hills
  • Andrew Lang, Facilities Committee
    Architect, Development Manager at Oxford Development, South Side
  • Diane Powell, Development Committee
    President, DBP Consulting Firm, Brookline
  • Sally Rifugiato, Finance Committee
    Principal, Pittsburgh Beechwood School, Squirrel Hill
  • Janera Solomon, External Relations Committee
    Executive Director, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Highland Park
  • Maureen Young, External Relations Committee
    Community Volunteer, Oakland

January 2011 Board of Trustees Meeting

Unanimously accepts recommendations of Public Private Task Force

During a special board meeting, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to move forward with a comprehensive approach to long-term funding that was proposed by an independent Public Private Task Force on Sustainable Funding.

Since mid-December 2010, the board has worked closely with Task Force members, forming a Joint Committee on Sustainable Funding to evaluate the report's six recommendations. During this time the joint committee solicited questions from board members, reviewed answers and ultimately recommended that the board pursue a multi-pronged approach to provide long-term, sustainable funding for the library system.

Each of the Task Force recommendations is being referred to a sub-group or committee of the Library board for planning and implementation. Groups will develop action plans and timelines and report back to the board at its February meeting. Some actions are likely to begin this year, with others taking place throughout the course of the next two years.


Library's 2011 Operating Budget

Approved by Board of Trustees 12-14-2010

At its December meeting, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to keep all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh branches open, officially repealing the portion of a 2009 Action Plan that would have reduced the number of branches in the system by the end of 2010. The board also approved a $23,956,000 operating budget for 2011, cautioning that next year is another critical funding year for the Library. Without stable funding in place, the Library will not be able to sustain its current system long-term.

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