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Carnegie library leaders look to meet more sophisticated needs

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Allegheny County library leaders are working together to sharpen the focus of the 45 county and 19 Carnegie libraries for the next several years.

The initiative, Library Service in the 21st Century, encourages people to consider how they use the libraries and how to prepare for the future. Leaders from libraries across the county are meeting through June to discuss possible changes in service to better meet patrons' needs.

Pleasant Hills director Sharon Julian-Milas and Jefferson Hills director Jan Reschenthaler are participating in the effort, which is through the Allegheny County Library Association and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Reschenthaler will host directors and board members in Jefferson Hills at a meeting on June 5. She hopes to attract at least 30 library representatives.

While the Pleasant Hills and Jefferson Hills libraries are just a few miles apart on Old Clairton Road, there's no competition.

“Quite often, we're collaborative,” Julian-Milas said. “We have different spaces, and share some of the same patrons. We have different budgets, but our hours complement each other.”

From discussions in February, patrons focused on services that could be consistent countywide and what could be customized locally. While some shared services would save money, they still wanted their libraries to retain as much independence as possible.

Library directors are keeping up with summaries of meetings at www.countycitylibraries.org.

Julian-Milas has linked the website to the Pleasant Hills Library's site, so residents can offer thoughts via an online survey.

Resident comments will become part of the general summary that will bring participants into more discussions in May and June.

A final report will be prepared, and presentations will be made to the boards of each library in the county system, the Regional Asset District or RAD, elected officials and the public.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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