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Why Renovate? - FAQ

Andrew Carnegie provided the seed money to build libraries, but he did not endow their operations. And unfortunately the spaces that served us well in the past are no longer suitable for contemporary use. New technologies, handicap access and air conditioning are a few of the 21st century requirements that compel us to renovate.

Children continue to come to libraries for storytimes, but today’s interactive sessions require open spaces and comfortably carpeted floors. Customers still browse the shelves, but they also search through online collection catalogs, digital archives and electronic databases. To serve modern society well, library facilities need to fit their ommunities’ needs. Technological infrastructure, handicapped accessibility, security systems and climate control are not luxuries but expectations.

What's the difference between the operating budget and the capital budget?

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has two separate budgets, the operating budget and the capital budget.

  • The operating budget provides funds for just that - operating expenses. Operating funds are used to pay for staff, benefits, book collections, services, computers, utilities, etc.
  • The capital budget provides funds for building improvements. Examples of the use of capital funds are: making our buildings ADA accessible, elevator repair and replacement, air conditioning, new windows or steps, carpeting, shelving, roof replacement/ repair etc.

For years the capital budget was small because the improvements to the buildings were seen as secondary to the services the library offers. Many of the capital improvements done were for general upkeep.

Why and when did you decide to revitalize the library system?

We decided to and began the process to revitalize the library system in 2001. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh went through a strategic planning process. An outcome of the process was the realization that we could no longer delay capital improvements on the buildings.

Five branches are not air-conditioned, none of our buildings are fully handicapped accessible and many other much needed building improvements were found during this process.