Our libraries need your advice

Because there are 45 independent public libraries operating 70 locations within Allegheny County, today’s economic climate makes it a good time to explore possibilities for closer cooperation and efficiency among the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County library organizations.

To help get there, a countywide initiative, website and survey program is soliciting library patron input before February 14. For details, see: www.countycitylibraries.org.

The survey form is at www.countycitylibraries.org/getinvolved.

Though many library patrons may not know it, it’s not all one library system around here. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is one thing (defined by city boundaries) and the Allegheny County Library Association is a separate -- though related -- administrative organization.

Here are the official definitions of the players, in Librarian-speak:

"Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is the District Library Center. District Library Centers receive funds from the State of Pennsylvania to support services to the local public libraries in their geographical areas. Locally, this support includes delivery services, interlibrary loan, teen services, consulting services and continuing education. CLP also is designated as one of only four state-wide resource centers in Pennsylvania that maintain a major research collection and are tasked with providing specialized materials and services to all Pennsylvania residents. CLP also has operational oversight for the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped." 

"The Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA) as a federated library system provides direct services such as continuing education for staff and Boards, Youth Services coordination, Mobile Services delivery (bookmobiles), countywide fundraising initiatives, distribution of funds to libraries and monitoring contractual compliance, and countywide programming."

A third entity in the picture is The Electronic Information Network (eiNetwork), which "provides the technology infrastructure for all City and County public libraries."


During the first six months of the new year, a three-stage process is going forward to find ways to strengthen the system:

1. Understand opportunities (January and February)

2. Test ideas (March and April

3. Confirm a path forward (May and June).

Organizers of the initiative, known as the County-City Library Service Panel, have issued this appeal to the public:

“Please join us in a rich discussion about how we can work together to ensure our public libraries remain strong, sustainable community assets.”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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