When the announcement was made that Pittsburgh had been chosen to host the upcoming G-20 summit, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the city "is an area that has seen its share of economic woes in the past, but because of foresight and investment is now renewed, giving birth to renewed industries that are creating jobs."
This renewal process did not start on the watch of our current crop of city officials, but I'm sure that they would not deny themselves credit for sustaining what has proven successful. That said, it is utterly reprehensible that while our elected officials will tout their role in the transformation, they wash their hands of a primary vehicle of that transformation, the Carnegie Library.
Right now, primary sources of funding for the library -- the Regional Asset District tax and the state -- have been, or soon will be, reduced to the point of possibly having library services cut in our neighborhoods, the same neighborhoods undergoing "renewal" and "investment" with "foresight." The meaningless support of $40,000 per year from the city budget provided for the city's own public library system is beyond laughable.
As the preeminent source for information and self-education, as an access point for technology and as a mandatory component of civic and democratic processes, the role of Carnegie Library in allowing residents to participate in our city's transformation is immeasurable. With the spotlight of the world soon upon us, I would hope city leaders feel embarrassed enough at this lack of commitment to city residents to reconsider their position.
The letter writer is a library assistant at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville branch.