Friday, July 16, 2010

Carnegie Library Hosts More Community Meetings

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will kick off its second round of community "brainstorming sessions" tomorrow with a meetings in Lawrenceville and Beltzhoover aimed at finding ways to raise money for the cash-strapped system.

Library spokeswoman Suzanne Thinnes says the first round of meetings in May brought forth a flurry of ideas to help the library manage itself within its waning operational budget.

"We went back, and with our board and staff, we refined some of those ideas, and we also looked at different opportunities for the future based upon some of the best practices in other library systems," says Thinnes. "So this time around, it's really a discussion focused on what mix of these ideas best meets the library for the future."

Thinnes says the library identified five areas of service the community values the most: collections, the digital experience, hours, locations, and programs/outreach.

The library spokeswoman says about 570 people have participated in the discussion so far either online or in person. Thinnes says most of the comments focus on efforts to find sustainable funding sources.

"Looking at the state budget cuts, and comibined with the 30% decrease [in state funding] the library saw last year, we're facing about a $2 million deficit," says Thinnes.

She says the library has organized a funding task force, and will be looking to Pittsburgh communities for ideas and support.

The meetings:

* (7/17) Lawrenceville - Stephen Foster Community Center (10 a.m. - noon)
* (7/17) Beltzhoover - Warrington Recreation Center (2 - 4 p.m.)
* (7/18) Brookline - Carnegie Library in Brookline (2 - 4 p.m.)
* (7/19) East Liberty - Union Project (7 - 9 p.m.)

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