Tag Archives: sustainable funding

All Day, And All of the Night: Read to the People

What do Urban Mommies, a famous Froggy, and a local mystery maven have in common?  They’ll all be making an appearance at Read to the People, the 24-hour read-a-thon that begins today at noon.  That’s right:  144 volunteer readers, including many local celebrities, signed up for a collective 1,440 minutes of reading out loud to raise awareness of the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative.   That’s 24 hours of library love.  Makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

I’m biased, of course.  But, quite frankly, even if I didn’t work here, I’d still visit every day.  For starters,  you’d better believe I’d be getting my money’s worth from the library.  The amount of money I save on books alone is so embarrassingly high I’m surprised it’s not illegal:  $850 per every fifty books checked out on my card.  That makes the cost of a Donor Plus membership look, by comparison, decidedly affordable.  Add in the value of free internet access, free magazines and research journals, free cultural/educational programming, and all the other free perks that come with library membership? I’d be a fool not to spend my time here (especially if I were actually searching for a new job).

It’s the intangibles that matter most to me, though, namely my emotional attachment to the library as a palace of letters and light.  Illusory though it may be, it comforts me to think that, in our frazzled, consumption-driven world, there is still one place where any citizen may go and be treated with courtesy and respect.  One haven where, if they’re willing to work and learn, people can teach themselves anything they care to know.  A sanctuary that values both quiet spaces and noisy, cheerful, collaborative ones.  A place for children to dream and explore, and for adults to remember how to dream and explore.  A safe space to navigate the sometimes muddy waters of being a teen (and, of course, to have fun while doing so).  A place where, no matter how many times you’ve failed, you can always start over.

As lovely as all that sounds, I know that libraries can’t sustain themselves on dreams and illusions.  They need you:  your time, your ear, your voice, your donations, your vote.  That’s why I’m part of the volunteer crew staying up all night for Read to the People:  I love the library so much, I’m not content to be with it in the daytime. I’m going to stay up all night to support it, and so are a lot of your friends and neighbors.  Won’t you join us?

In conjunction with the brouhaha, Eleventh Stack will update frequently this weekend with photos and short posts about read-aloud festivities.  You can also get read-aloud tidbits on Facebook and Twitter, and participate virtually by retweeting and sharing links and photos in your social networks.  Spread the word, and we hope to see you soon, either outside or online!

—Leigh Anne

serendipitously celebrating nine years of library employment today

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Pittsburgh’s Ultimate “Reality Show” Seeks Contestants

No, the Eleventh Stack blog hasn’t been purchased by a major network — it’s a metaphor!  Pittsburgh’s ultimate “reality show” — a/k/a the actual future of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh — can’t evolve without more input from y-o-u.

In May, the library started a community conversation process that garnered real ideas from actual Pittsburghers about how to create a sustainable library future.  You can read summaries of the four May meetings below — please note that these files open as .PDFs:

May 15th — morning workshop

May 15th — afternoon workshop

May 16th — afternoon workshop

May 17th — evening workshop

Pressed for time? Take a peek at the cumulative summary.  Many people chose to provide feedback online, too, so we’ve summarized that input for you as well.

This is where you come in:  the second round of Community Conversations begins on July 17th.  Consider this an “open casting call” for Pittsburghers of all ages, especially if you weren’t able to participate in May (click here for a video summary of what you missed).

All fired up and ready to play?  The July Community Conversations will take place as follows:

Saturday July 17th
10 a.m. – noon
Stephen Foster Community Center — Lawrenceville
286 Main Street, 15203

Saturday July 17th
2-4 p.m.
Warrington Recreation Center — Beltzhoover/Allentown
720 Warrington Avenue, 15210

Sunday July 18th
2-4 p.m.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh — Brookline
708 Brookline Boulevard, 15226

Monday July 19th
7-9 p.m.
Union Project — East Liberty
801 North Negley Avenue, 15206

Each session will follow the same format and cover the same territory, so you need only participate in one (repeat attendance does, however, earn you hardcore library supporter props, and library worker love).  Round two consists of:

  • a briefing on the themes developed in Part One
  • a presentation of ideas for the future
  • an interactive discussion of those ideas

It’s the “interactive” part that’s key to the success of the “show;” we need to know

  • which ideas and themes resonate most strongly with you, the library user
  • which ideas are better than others
  • why you prefer the ideas you do, and
  •  if you have any ideas that somehow didn’t come up in Part One

Other things you need to know as a “contestant:”

  • You don’t need to pre-register!  Just show up.  Bring friends.
  • Light refreshments will be served.
  • Children are definitely welcome!
  • Discussion guides for round two will be available here by July 10th

Still have questions?  Maggie McFalls, the library’s Community Engagement Coordinator, will be happy to answer them.  You can e-mail her at feedback@carnegielibrary.org or call 412-622-8877.

Obviously, the future of one of the best public library systems in the known universe (I’m a touch biased) is far more important than anything currently on television.  After all, if we don’t work together to find a sustainable solution, the consequences are more serious than getting voted off an island.  Without access to a good library system, the “biggest losers” are the American dream, the democratic process, and the well-informed citizenry upon which our society is built.

Don’t let it happen on your watch!  Join the conversation, and make your voice heard.

–Leigh Anne

who thinks “Big Bucks, No Whammies” would make a fabulous advocacy slogan, if it weren’t already taken.

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