The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees announced yesterday that they will be closing branches and merging two. Beechview, Hazelwood and West End branches will be closed by February 1st. The Lawrenceville branch will be closed when East Liberty opens in 2010. The Carrick and Knoxville branches will be merged.
Besides branch closings there are also some other changes. Effective January 2, 2010 the Main Library and branches will be reducing system hours. Main will lose evening hours, Squirrel Hill will lose a day of service along with some evening hours and Downtown will lose hours. Carrick and Knoxville will be open 4 days a week for 30 hours a week and all remaining branches will be open for 37 hours a week. Specific hours and days open have not been announced yet. The Mt. Washington branch will be moving and the the Allegheny depository will be closing. Staff cuts will be made as well and increase in fines and fees will be seen in the upcoming year.
If you want to learn more about the changes happening and what everyone is saying about it click the links below.
The closing of libraries is shocking too many. Many of the Carrick community showed support to the library by writing letters to the board of directors and signing a petition. I want to thank all who signed and wrote the wonderful letters to keep us open. At Carrick we have a lot of unanswered questions but are hopeful for the future and glad we will be staying in the community. However, my hopeful feelings come with a lot of guilt that 4 libraries will be closing. I know these communities fought hard to keep their libraries open as well.
As I talked to members of my Teen Advisory Group they had mixed feelings about the changes that are to occur and a lot of questions. Most were relieved that we will be staying open while others were concerned that the library they have grown up with will close and a new library will take its place somewhere yet to be determined. I reminded them that 4 branches have closed and that could have been us and we should be grateful we will still be here.
I don’t know if anything can change. It seems like the decision that is made is going to stick unless a new revunue source is found that can sustain the libraries. Even if you are not effected by the closures you can still advocate for the libraries. Contacting the governor, state officials and Pittsburgh City Council will help prevent any future cuts. Also contacting the Mayor’s 311 line is another way to advocate for the libraries. Find more information here.