Bridgeville Library’s Fundraising Plan Never Materialized
The Bridgeville Public Library has not had a clear fundraising plan since the $4 million project began taking shape in 2007. Materialized
The Bridgeville Public Library board met Tuesday night to discuss its situation and how it will raise enough money to keep the new $4 million facility operating. This is the third and final story that will appear this week on Chartiers Valley Patch. The first story was about how fundraising is needed immediately to save the new building, and on Thursday, we examined changes that could be coming to the board.
The financial woes facing the Bridgeville Public Library have been years in the making.
When the library board planned to build its new building more than five years ago, its members wanted to raise the more than $4 million to pay for construction before it opened.
That way, they could worry more about raising money to keep the new building operating with programs and an army of staff members.
But that didn’t happen. In fact, although there was around $2 million in a McDivett trust fund dedicated for the library, there has been no major capital campaign to raise money before or after the library opened in January 2011.
“There hasn’t been anything significant (from donations),” said Lorraine Ruday, an accountant who has been advising the library board for several years. “We knew there would be more expenditures. The money just didn’t come in when the expenses picked up.”
The board said during its Tuesday night meeting that the library hired three professional fundraisers to find money. However, the members said two of those fundraisers were more concerned about cutting expenses rather than bringing in cash.
Financial problems forced the library to drastically scale back its hours and staffing on May 1. The cutbacks will only buy them a couple additional months and some people think it is doing great damage to the library’s credibility.
Molly Krichten said she is “upset” and concerned the major cuts to programs won’t save enough money to outweigh the public perception that the library is fatally wounded.
“By cutting teen services, you made it very apparent to them that their lives aren’t important and their needs are not important,” Krichten said.
Donna Taylor, who is the library’s director, said they are not happy about the cuts but needed to show they were working to control their finances.
“None of the people who were let go were let go because they weren’t doing a great job. That wasn’t the reason,” Taylor said. “The feeling was we needed to show we were painfully tightening the belt.”
But no amount of cuts will ever be able save the library, according to Ruday. What it needs right now is cash, and lots of it. But the library’s precarious situation might be scaring off big donors that the library ultimately needs to rescue it.
Mike Aquilina, a former Bridgeville resident who indicated interest in joining the board, said he wants to know any future donations he makes won’t be wasted.
“Are we just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic?” Aquilina said.
One of the last options could be joining forces with South Fayette’s library to merge programs and services. A task force is being formed to bring together community leaders, residents and resources to find a solution.
However, there is no timeline for when the task force will convene and tough decisions on the future of the library might have to be made by the end of the year.