One of the points of pride for the city of Pittsburgh is that it is the home of Andrew Carnegie and it was here he started the first free public library in the United States.
Now those libraries are in jeopardy. There are 19 Carnegie neighborhood libraries in the city, and to maintain them, the city allots $40,000 yearly. If you do the math that amounts to about $2,000 each.
Andrew Carnegie built the libraries but left no endowment for their upkeep; he expected the city to do that. How can City Council and the mayor talk about Pittsburgh as the most livable city when they do not adequately support a library system that is crucial to the citizens? At our South Side library we are inundated by people taking out books, DVDs and other material. Our computers have waiting lines. This summer our children's programs were full as families chose not to go away on vacation.
There was lavish spending for the G-20 summit. By the end of September all the money for the summit will be gone, and the citizens of Pittsburgh will still have a library crisis.
MARY ELLEN LEIGH
The writer is a board member of Friends of the South Side Library.