South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Carnegie Library to begin developing five-year plan


March 13, 2012

During its winter quarterly meeting on February 27, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees approved several items, received board committee reports and was updated on progress made during President and Director Mary Frances Cooper's first 57 days in office.

 Ms. Cooper reported the

library has been able to achieve additional sustainable funding for 2012. As a result, most Pittsburgh library locations are offering expanded hours, opening more evenings, after school and weekends for customer use. Starting Monday, Feb. 20, library customers gained an additional 119 hours per week, with all neighborhood libraries open for service Mondays and Fridays.

The new hours are in direct response to feedback from customers who were previously affected by cuts in library service due to budget constraints and shortfalls.

Lou Testoni, chair of the library's Board of Trustees announced board member Bob Dellinger will chair an ad hoc Strategic Planning Committee in 2012 to assist the board and library staff, with input from the community, in developing a five-year plan that will guide the strategic direction of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Additional committee members Henry Beukema, Bruce Kraus, Ramayya Krishnan and Jacqui Fiske Lazo will work with Ms. Cooper and the library's Leadership Team on the direction and timing of the plan. The plan's three-part process will include identifying issues and opportunities; developing and testing ideas and then seeking feedback on those ideas from the library's many community stakeholders.

The plan is slated for final board approval in October 2012 for a timely submission to the Allegheny Regional Asset District the following month. A guide detailing the core discussion areas of the plan, highlights of past community meetings and examples of what the library is doing currently is available at

The library's staff has already begun to facilitate a variety of meetings with the public and other stakeholders. Public input on the library's strategic plan is being sought throughout the entire process and may be provided in person at any Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh location or online as well as through ongoing community meetings on the topic.

The board received progress reports on two capital projects currently under development. CLP-South Side, which closed for renovation last year, is on schedule for a late summer opening. While the majority of the construction work is taking place inside the building, crews have prepped the roof for slate installation and laid the foundation for improved access, especially by those with disabilities.

Over the past six months, the interior of the library was reconfigured and updated to make room for the installation of new air conditioning, heating and plumbing systems and an elevator to facilitate building access.

 The Facilities Committee reported

library staff and several board members met with members of the community on February 18 to update them on the anticipated merger of CLP-Carrick and CLP-Knoxville. While many sites for a newly-constructed merged library have been explored, discussions about various options continue. Meanwhile, the two locations will remain open.

 The Facilities Committee also reviewed a multi-year plan for updates and ADA compliance upgrades for the Library's remaining

unrenovated locations. In addition to the ability to increase hours, sustainable funding is allowing the Library to address several important previously deferred maintenance items.

As part of its Community Engagement strategy, the library's board and staff will host a meeting with the general public on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. CLP-Main, Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Avenue, 15213.

The meeting agenda includes a "State of the Library" presentation as well as time for an open question and answer session. The meeting will be followed by light refreshments and a time for personal introductions and conversations with library board members and staff.

Residents and community leaders interested in providing comments or questions are asked to register in advance by 5 p.m. on March 21. Speakers should send their name, phone number, mailing address and email address along with a copy of their question or comment of three minutes or less to, register online at, or call 412-622-8877. Priority will be given to those who register in advance.

 Library staff reported discussions are ongoing with City of Pittsburgh administrators in connection with billing and collecting the Special Library Tax approved by

city voters in November 2011.

Due to the timing and initial internal city processes in combining tax bills, it is necessary to send two bills to property owners this year, one for City and Pittsburgh School's Real Estate Property Taxes and one for the Special Library Tax. 

The board was concerned about the expense of separate bills for 2012, but was encouraged by the expressed willingness of city administrators to work collaboratively toward a single, consolidated billing system for 2013 and beyond. The board encouraged library staff to continue discussions and work toward a long-term solution that is the most cost effective for the library and the most convenient for taxpayers.

Community members interested in learning more about Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Board of Trustees may view expanded information, including board profiles, meeting minutes and budget information online at


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