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Costly New Building is the Reason for Bridgeville Library's Problems

Michael Aquilina III, who grew up in Bridgeville, wrote a letter to the editor responding to claims that the library is struggling because of a lack of volunteers.

To the editor:

I'm writing in regard to board member Nino Petrocelli's comment in Tuesday’s story on Chartiers Valley Patch regarding the library's need to cut hours and layoff staff.

While I greatly respect Mr. Petrocelli's contributions to the Bridgeville area over the years, his comment that "not one person" in Bridgeville has stepped up to help the library is false.

The library does, in fact, have a dedicated group of volunteers who regularly donate time, effort and money to help the library with their operations and programming. These volunteers include several of my friends and family, and I'm shocked that Mr. Petrocelli would gloss over the existence of this generous group of area residents.

I find it interesting that Mr. Petrocelli chooses to place the blame for the library's deficit on the residents of Bridgeville, while not addressing the library board's fiscally irresponsible decision , apparently with no pledges of any significant ongoing support from the community.

If the library board is going to try to pin the blame for budgetary issues on area residents, they should first defend their decision to construct the new facility.

Michael Aquilina III
Shadyside

 

Do you agree with Mr. Aquilina's opinion on the library? Tell us in the comments section

 

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Terry Jones April 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Well said Michael. Sometimes people (Petrocelli) are so angry at what is happening that they want to 'Blame' other people instead of looking at the real issue which was their decision to build an over priced Library. The volunteers do deserve respect and acknowledement for the gift they give.
Terry Jones April 26, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Wow Thanks for the info Mike. Abso theres more behind the scene's than they want to admit. My question: why are we just hearing about this now?This didn't just happen over night
Joyce Heinrich April 26, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Many Bridgeville residents were against building the new library, including me, but it's there and we can't change that now. The community needs to rally and support it in whatever manner works for you, i.e., financially, volunteering or by participating on a board or comittee. It is a fabulous building and offers many options as a community center and multi-use venue. Bridgeville has received a lot of good press over the new library building, having been called the "best library in Allegheny County". Let's look for options to make the best use of the building and property to avoid the loss of one of Bridgeville's finest assets.
Mike Jones (Editor) April 26, 2012 at 08:05 PM
The Post-Gazette ran this story today about the library's problems. It says the library had to slash its budget from $400,000 to $200,000 and might have to close by the end of 2013. It's pretty obvious there's more problems than grass cutting and volunteers... http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-south/bridgeville-public-library-cutting-hours-closing-two-days-633198/
Nino Petrocelli, Sr. April 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I would like to address some of the comments received in response to the Patch article. First, I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and comments regarding the recent changes underway at the Bridgeville Library. I would also like to remind residents that the library board meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the library. We encourage any interested residents to attend these meetings. The Board is always happy to receive feedback aimed at helping to improve the library and make it a better resource for the entire community. Over the last 18 months, the board has been faced with many tough decisions, none which were easy to make, regarding the future of the Bridgeville Library. After a great deal of consideration, the recent changes regarding cutbacks in staff and hours of operation were made. The board made these decisions in an attempt to balance a sustainable solution for the library with needs of the community.
Nino Petrocelli, Sr. April 27, 2012 at 01:02 PM
We would also like to clarify the remarks about our volunteer staff, without which the library could not function. The current volunteers, who help with the library operations, do an outstanding job and our library could not operate efficiently and successfully if not for those people that volunteer their time. We wish to express to them out most sincere gratitude. However, with the library budget reduced by half, the board began looking for areas that could be cut without affecting the quality of services the library provides to the community. A number of the budget cuts were made in maintenance areas, such as snow removal, landscaping including grass cutting and cleaning services, which totaled about $8,000 in savings for the library. The volunteers we are seeking to reach out to and motivate through the articles in the Post-Gazette and the Chartiers Valley Patch are residents that would be interested in assisting the library with these kinds of tasks. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. It was not our intention to place the blame on any residents, but to make people aware of the financial struggles the library is facing and to solicit additional support or assistance from anyone in the community that may be willing to donate their time or resources to the Bridgeville Library.
Michael Aquilina III April 27, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Mr. Petrocelli, it's great to hear that the board is trying to cut costs, but if they want to attract donations, they need to be more transparent. In the past, I have made regular donations to the library, but stopped when the decision was made to construct the new building, because I felt that decision was irresponsible. As a donor, there are quite a few questions I'd need to have addressed before I would ever consider entrusting my donations to the library board again. A few of them include: • When the board decided to construct the new building, was a plan in place to ensure that both construction and operations could be funded on an ongoing basis? If so, what was this plan? • Did the board seek advice from qualified financial professionals before making this decision? If so, who was consulted? • What led the board to the belief that contributions from area residents would increase with the construction of a new building? • What did the board do to attempt to mitigate the budgetary issues before taking the drastic steps of cutting hours and staffing? Welcoming the public to the board meetings is a good first step - and I'll definitely try to attend the next one - but you can't expect every prospective donor who has read the articles in the P-G and the Patch to attend the meetings. The recent media coverage has rightfully led to distrust of the board, and the board will need to earn this trust back if they expect donations.
Michael Aquilina III April 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM
In short, what assurances do we, as library patrons, have that our donations won't be mismanaged?

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