Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh gets healthier; '13 budget up by 3%
Following a backlash over a plan to close, merge and relocate branches to save money, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is bigger and expanding services next year.
The Carnegie Library has kept all 19 regular branches open, started a “pop-up” branch in Allentown last month and expanded hours, thanks in large measure to a new library tax, gaming table revenues and improved fundraising.
On Monday, the system's board approved a 2013 budget of $28.7 million, which is 3 percent more than this year's $27.9 million budget.
Expanded services will enable patrons to download up to three songs a week to their iPod or MP3 and read digital stories from 300 magazines such as Newsweek, Rolling Stone or Good Housekeeping.
“The financial position of the library is stable at the moment, but we have a lot of work to do,” said Lou Testoni, chairman of the Carnegie Library board.
Testoni said that breathing room could change as Congress and President Obama debate ways to reduce the federal budget, including the continuation of charitable tax deductions for groups like the Carnegie Library.
“We don't know how the rest of the world will respond to what's going on in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Because of financial problems three years ago, the library board had approved closing branches in Beechview, Hazelwood, Lawrence-ville and the West End; merging the Carrick and Knoxville branches; and moving the Mt. Washington Library.
After criticism from city officials and the public, the board in 2010 voted not to close the four branches or relocate the one in Mt. Washington. The board still has not made a decision on merging the branches in Carrick and Knoxville.
A library task force developed a strategy that included getting a dedicated library tax from city residents; regular increases from the Allegheny Regional Asset District, its main source of money; and more money from foundations, corporations and individuals.
There's a goal in the budget to increase private fundraising next year by 21 percent over the $1.2 million raised this year, said library spokeswoman Suzanne Thinnes. That would raise its fundraising to about $1.35 million.
A referendum in 2011 overwhelmingly approved the new tax, which generated more than $2.8 million this year, Testoni said. RAD increased its support for the library's daily operations from $18.6 million to $19.1 million next year. The library hopes to develop a campaign next year to raise money for its endowment, now valued at about $10 million.
David Donahoe, executive director of RAD, noted that the real estate tax and table game revenues helped stabilize the library system financially.
“Between that and the gambling money, you're talking about $3.7 million that didn't exist. They've been very successful at implementing the strategy they put in place,” he said.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sting highlights demand for Pappy Van Winkle bourbon
- New CEO eager to revitalize Pittsburgh International Airport
- Goodell defends league, dodges difficult questions
- Newsmaker: Kate Groschner
- Police say couple in Oakland murder-suicide had ‘troubled’ relationship
- Propel Braddock school bans backpacks, to add metal detectors
- Pa. Turnpike claims software fraud, wants $45M
- Charge against ex-Steeler dropped after community service
- Pittsburgh mayor denies ethics investigation into his ‘Undercover Boss’ performance
- Week before sentencing, Ferrante seeks acquittal or new trial
- 2nd lawsuit filed against Gov. Wolf seeking reinstatement of open records director