I was disappointed that the Jan. 4 article "Hazelwood Hopes to Reshape Its Community Despite Blows" failed to acknowledge the presence of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as part of Hazelwood's proud tradition and, perhaps more important, its present and future development.
Since relocating to its current location on Second Avenue in April 2004, the library's circulation and customer visits have demonstrated yearly increases, as much as 34 percent. When the library's hours were increased in 2007 to a five-day-a-week schedule, there was a concomitant spike in usage. Nearly 60,000 customers visited the library in 2008, demonstrating a 14 percent increase compared with 2007.
In 2008, the Hazelwood library provided free quality programs to approximately 5,000 children and teens, including KinderPrep, a systemwide kindergarten preparatory program presented to more than 550 preschool children. We can proudly state that children and teen program attendance at Hazelwood competes with attendance figures at some of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's larger branches.
As a community anchor, the library maintains integral relationships with the YMCA summer programs, Head Start and community public and parochial schools. The Hazelwood library's innovative "It's Real" program for teen mothers and their children is held in two Pittsburgh high schools and was submitted to the Pennsylvania Library Association as a 2009 Best Practice in the category of "Programs for 'At Risk' or Underserved Children and Families."
As leaders and residents envision and shape the future of this diverse and impressively resilient community, they should pause to acknowledge the significant role played by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, not only in Hazelwood's history but also in its revitalization.
MARY ANN McHARG
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh