Oakmont Carnegie Library to be assessed for future building improvements | TribLIVE.com

Oakmont Carnegie Library to be assessed for future building improvements

Michael DiVittorio

Oakmont Carnegie Library officials believe a building assessment will help them plan for future improvements.

Director Beth Mellor said her board and former borough council President Tom Briney were working on specifications for requests for proposals, which could be sent out by the end of the year.

“It gives you a plan going forward on what you’ve got to work on,” Mellor said. “We want to have a plan in place to know ‘x’ number of years from now what needs replaced. I want to make sure this building’s going to be around for a long time.”

Mellor informed borough officials about their assessment plans at council’s workshop meeting Monday night.

She said it’s estimated to cost about $18,000, and would not require any additional tax dollars.

The borough contributes about $290,000 to the library’s estimated $550,000 budget.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Councilman Randy Galm said. “It can give them an opportunity to build things in the budget rather than fix things as they break. I think it’s a great library.”

The library opened in 1901 with its entrance facing Allegheny River Boulevard. It’s last major expansion was completed and dedicated in December 2006. The facility is about 11,000 square feet and its main entrance faces Pennsylvania Avenue.

It underwent several renovation projects during the past three years due to flooding.

Mellor said the library’s been spared from such incidents so far this year.

The building assessment, coupled with data from surveys paid for by the Allegheny County Library Association, will be used in a new two-year strategic plan for the Oakmont library.

The current plan’s set to expire this year. Its goals included obtaining a smart board, core competency training for staffers and partnering with local businesses and organizations to develop additional programming.

Mellor said those goals were accomplished.

Researchers in a University of Pittsburgh’s masters program did surveys of at least six Allegheny County libraries, including Oakmont, earlier this year.

Mellor said, for her library’s portion, there were online and paper surveys, as well as focus groups, used to collect public input on how it can better serve the community. Those results are expected this month.

Pittsburgh-based eiNetwork, which serves as the information technology infrastructure for Allegheny County libraries, also conducted a county-wide survey regarding library technology.

Mellor said she plans to collect eiNetwork’s information and present it to her staff and board members by the end of October.

“There’s a lot of data out there,” she said. “I like finding out what people are thinking, and if there’s a service or program they want in the library.”

Oakmont Carnegie Library serves tens of thousands of families annually. Many of its programs are free and require no registration.

More information is available at www.oakmontlibrary.org or by calling 412-828-9532.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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