Referendum must pass so Carnegie Library remains

Oct 31, 2011
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That quiet place you go to read, to study, to think: the library. And for anyone who has had to pull an all-nighter, the library represents a proverbial undergraduate battleground strewn with sleeping students and empty coffee cups.

However, the library a couple blocks down the street has become a different sort of battleground.

On Nov. 8, there will be a referendum on the ballot to create a source of funding for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which is now in jeopardy from funding cuts. The public library system of Pittsburgh consists of 19 neighborhood locations, a community that includes learning programs and job-search assistance, and — from my own experience growing up in Pittsburgh — a place that fosters intellectual curiosity in young learners.

The referendum calls for a 0.25-mill special tax on all taxable real estate in the City of Pittsburgh to be allocated for the library, which amounts to $25 per year or $2.09 per month on $100,000 of assessed value.

To put that in perspective, that’s about the cost of a hardcover book, one-tenth the cost of an organic chemistry book, and about one two-thousandth the cost of a year’s tuition at Carnegie Mellon University. And, honestly, the public library has a much nicer atmosphere than the brutalism of Wean Hall and the dungeon-like Engineering and Science Library.

So go out and vote yes for Our Library, Our Future’s initiative and keep open a vibrant library system for yinz readers aht there.