Task Force Hoping to Help Bridgeville Library
A task force is forming and will consider all options on how the area can help the Bridgeville Public Library after it was forced to make major cuts to its operating hours and staff.
A task force is forming to consider all options on how the area can help the Bridgeville Public Library after it was forced to make major cuts to its operating hours and staff.
Marilyn Jenkins, who is Allegheny County Library Association’s executive director, said they are working to bring people together to find solutions to save the library after it was forced to make significant cutsbacks, but she admitted there are no easy answers.
She said the library might have to reach out to neighboring communities for help and “leverage resources” to continue operating in the new $4 million building on McMillen Street.
“I think they’re facing an enormous challenge if they’re going to try to fix it on their own,” Jenkins said. “They’re going to have to look for outside help, and that’s why we’re involved.”
Jenkins could not say what exactly the task force, library board or ACLA can do to preserve services, but she said they are open to all suggestions.
“I think there are always options,” Jenkins said. “Sometimes when you’re on the ground, it’s hard to see what those options are. There are individuals in the community and outside interested in figuring how to preserve library services there. We certainly are.”
According to ACLA, the Bridgeville Public Library spent $483,750 on operations and $56,113 on fundraising and mortgage payments in 2011. It received $18,144 from the state, $54,206 from the Regional Asset District and $3,261 in gaming funds. It also received $13,798 from the borough, $41,335 from local fundraising and $173,053 in the sale of the old train station, according to ACLA records.
The library had to slash its annual budget in half in order to survive, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.The cuts to operating hours went into effect Tuesday.
Mary Weise, who is on the library board, said they are cutting services and hours in hopes of raising revenue now to preserve the library in the future.
She estimates they need to generate $200,000 to $300,000 in annual revenue over the next five years to put the library on sturdy financial ground.
“We’re not going down without a fight, I’ll tell you that,” Weise said. “The people of Bridgeville are going to have to support us. It is a family center. It’s always packed. It can be done.”
She’s hoping they can launch waves of fundraisers and raffles to coincide with outside donations to keep the library afloat. She estimates they can continue operating the library “if we’re very careful with our money” for the next 15 months.
“I think it can be done,” Weise said. “I think there are plenty of ways to look around and get it done. I don’t care if it’s $5, $10 or $20 (donations). As money comes in, we can increase hours and staff.”
Weise encouraged people to attend the library board’s next meeting at the library on May 15 at 7:30 p.m. to offer ideas and help.
Jenkins agreed that Bridgeville residents should become closely involved with the library board and the decision-making process to ensure its future.
“I think the public itself is the strongest advocate for the library as far as holding the board accountable,” Jenkins said. “This is an asset to the residents and we need to work together to make sure it survives. There are people who are clearly invested to make sure it works. That’s good to know.”
The task force is not open to the general public, but anyone from the area who’s interested in volunteering to help with the process is encouraged to contact their respective libraries.