Friday, January 21, 2011
Recommendations by the public-private task force charged with finding sustainable funding solutions for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh have been approved by the Board of Trustees. The report recommends a multi-pronged approach to ensuring the stability and growth of the library. The plan also integrates recommendations made by the public during last year's Community Conversation workshops. Task Force Chair Frank Lucchino says the library's budget has been "squeezed" as much as possible, so now the Board must look at income. "We have reduced the hours of operation, we have cut the number of materials that we buy, we have reduced the staff, we have frozen salaries.... We've done everything the public has the right to expect us to do to tighten our belts, and if we're not going to close branches, we need to find funding sources that are sustainable to carry us forward." Two primary strategies will be implemented to increase income: first, protect and grow current library funding, and second, initiate new funding streams. Under the first strategy, the library will improve advocacy and increase individual giving, secure annual increases from the Allegheny County Regional Asset District, seek more corporate contributions and work with local and state entities to develop incentive programs for donors. In terms of new funding streams, the library would launch an endowment campaign and give the public a chance to vote on whether increased dedicated funding should go to the library system. Lucchino says Pittsburgh's annual contribution to the library has not increased from its original $40,000 over the library's 115 years in the city.