Lend your library a hand

 Now that you know the library is in trouble, what can you do?  Here are four ways you can help.  (For more details and ways to advocate, please visit Save Our Libraries, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Library Association.)

1. Write your elected officials.  While it helps to encourage representatives to support libraries in general, different levels of government control different aspects of our funding, so you can tailor your message more specifically to them. 

Personal letters have more impact than form letters, but we do have some suggestions.  Use some of these talking points from CLP and Pennsylvania Library Association, and read below for specific pointers. 

Whomever you write and whatever you say, let your passion for the library show. Tell them how important the library is to you.  If you want inspiration from your fellow library users, visit CLP’s Tell Us Your Story page. 

Pennsylvania Elected Officials:
Start with your PA state reps, since the state budget is the highest priority and closest deadline right now.

  • Governor Rendell
    Governor Edward G. Rendell’s Office
    225 Main Capitol Building
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
    Phone: (717) 787-2500
    Fax: (717) 772-8284
  • To find your Pennsylvania State Legislators (PA Senate and PA House of Representatives), you’ll need your full 9-digit zip code. Now, enter that full zip code on this site to find your reps.

What to tell PA officials:
This message comes from Pennsylvania Library Association’s (PALA) talking points.

  • Libraries need level state funding–NO cuts.
  • PA stands to lose nearly an additional $1 million in federal money, if the proposed state cuts stand.
  • Public libraries are busier than ever, meeting the increased demands of the recession, including: people looking for work, families on tight budgets, and retirees grappling with shrinking savings.

    Allegheny County elected officials:

    • Dan Onorato – Allegheny County Executive
      436 Grant Street  Room 101
      Pittsburgh, PA 15219
      Phone: (412) 350-6500

    What to tell Allegheny officials:
    No county-level library legislation is currently pending, but please write to encourage general library support.  Onorato appointed several of the board members of Allegheny RAD, a county-level organization that contributes 71.8% of CLP’s budget.

    Pittsburgh elected officials:

    What to tell Pittsburgh officials:
    The City contributes $40,000 annually to CLP (0.2% of CLP’s budget).  City officials aren’t working on specific library-related legislation right now, but they’ll be responding to the library’s situation soon, if budget crunches and corresponding service cuts affect community branches and services.  Encourage Pittsburgh officials to support the library, continuing libraries’ positive effect on people, neighborhoods and the economy.  

     2. Give.  Not everyone is a multimillionaire, but donations of any amount are valuable.  Contribute what you can, or sign up for a donor card.  (Currently, these cost $30 for an individual and $50 for a family.)   

    3. Tell your friends. Tell your newspaper.  Tell your coworkers.  Tell everyone–it’s everyone’s library.

    4. Attend the CLP Town Hall Meetings.  CLP needs public input on its plans for the future.  Three 90-minute town hall meetings will include a brief presentation and a chance for you to speak your mind about what you need from your library.  Changes will be recommended to the Library’s Board of Trustees by September and begin to be implemented for the 2010 budget year (January 2010).

    WHO:          Hosts: CLP leadership 
    Moderators: representatives of League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh
    WHAT:          A brief program will be presented outlining the financial situation faced by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  Individuals are encouraged to comment about Library services.
    WHEN & WHERE:     
    Thursday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. 
    CLP – Main; Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Avenue

    Saturday, July 18, at 10 a.m.
    Carrick High School; Auditorium, 125 Parkfield Street

    Tuesday, July 21 at 7:00 p.m.
    CCAC-Allegheny Campus; SSC Auditorium, 808 Ridge Avenue


    Libraries, as a free source of unrestricted, unbiased public education, are a vital part of our communities.  They belong to all of us, and no matter how tight the budget gets, we have to remember their value. 

    Tomorrow, we’ll post some ways to calculate how much money your library usage saves you.   You might be surprised!  And how do we price libraries’ value to our neighborhoods and our independent educations?



    Filed under Uncategorized

    4 responses to “Lend your library a hand

    1. Jim

      All of the libraries in Pittsburgh need help. There are not enough computers in the new Downtown Library.

    2. Thank you, Jim – that’s exactly the kind of info we need to know about! I hope you’ll consider coming to one of the Town Hall meetings.

      Leigh Anne

    3. Pingback: Help Solve a Mystery « Eleventh Stack

    4. Pingback: Literary Autodidacts and Public Libraries « Eleventh Stack

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s