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 building operating. This is the first of three stories that will appear this week on Chartiers Valley Patch. Follow-up stories about a potential board changes and what led to the staffing cuts will appear later this week.
The Bridgeville Public Library must implement a robust fundraising program immediately in order to continue operating in their new building, an accountant told the library board Tuesday night.
Lorraine Ruday, the accountant who has been advising the board since the project was conceived several years ago, said the library has enough money to operate in the building until the end of 2014. She thinks the major cutbacks to library staff and hours most likely bought them a few more months to operate.
However, tough decisions probably need to be made by the end of the year—which could involve selling the building—to have enough money in the bank to open another library elsewhere in the borough if fundraising efforts aren’t strong enough.
“We need to act immediately. There’s no doubt about that,” Ruday said, adding that fundraising has been anemic since the new building opened in January 2011. “We need to get started tomorrow.”
The library has been through three fundraising directors since it opened and is now considering either hiring another one or leaning on volunteers to do the heavy-lifting.
The message was sobering during the library board’s monthly meeting. But the meeting also brought in more people from the community who want to do everything they can to save the $4 million building.
Many who attended the meeting hoped it would be an opportunity to mobilize the community and find a solution.
Becky Wisbon, who left the board several years ago, took notes as secretary and said she would be interested in rejoining. She proposed a “meeting of the minds” to figure out what needs to be done and how to implement a fundraising plan.
She hopes the library’s problems will spur action from the community and bring a new approach and ideas.
“Before we throw ourselves in the fire about building this … maybe it’s a wake-up call,” Wisbon said. “We’re going to put our heads together and figure out a solution. We have a wonderful library.”
Joyce Heinrich, who is on the advisory board, said she disagreed with building the new library, but they need to find a solution now that it’s built. She suggested they try to bring in people from neighboring communities—including Collier Township and its Nevillewood neighborhood—to sit on the board and spearhead fundraising efforts.
Other options include merging programs with South Fayette's library to save money for both communities.
“I feel this community needs to step up, not just financially … but supporting the library in other areas,” Heinrich said.
She thinks a dedicated fundraising director with experience could help the library raise the money needed to remain open. Heinrich said she hoped someone like Maggie Forbes, who had extensive experience with the Carnegie Carnegie library, would come aboard even though she previously declined.
“Nothing is going to happen overnight,” Heinrich said. “We need to get the right players on the board.”
Read Chartiers Valley Patch tomorrow and Friday for additional stories about the board looking for new members and why the library had to make such drastic cuts.