Table of Contents
Strategic Plan Principles
Our collections support the educational, leisure reading and general reference
needs of the community. We base our acquisition decisions on the utility
of the materials to the everyday needs of our customers and their availability
elsewhere. We support the economic health of Pittsburgh's workforce by
linking workers with job opportunities, training and career advice. We
provide resources that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in our
communities. Our reference collections reflect our core strengths especially
focusing on local information, history, business and industry. We avoid
duplicating the scholarly research collections of the area's university
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh serves over 1,000,000 citizens of Pittsburgh
and Allegheny County. The City of Pittsburgh is comprised of 88 distinct
neighborhoods, while Allegheny County encompasses 133 separate municipalities.
The area is home to many universities and colleges, a large number of
health care facilities, new and established high tech industries, and a broad
range of other businesses and services. The individuals who make up this
community represent many ethnic backgrounds, economic and educational levels
and ages. Their leisure reading tastes are as diverse as the types of
information they need for work, school, and personal interest.
History of the Collection
Originally the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was to serve that portion of the city which lies south of the Allegheny River. The North Side, formerly the City of Allegheny, received its library service from the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny. Although Allegheny was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh in 1907, it was not until 1956 that the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny was merged with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to provide unified library service throughout the city.
Another change in the service area occurred in 1956 when the Board of
Commissioners of Allegheny County contracted with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to provide bookmobile service to county residents and to permit county residents free use of all CLP facilities and services.
Under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Library Code of 1961, Carnegie Library was designated a District Library Center and a Regional Resource Library. As a District Center, it was to provide advisory services, reference help, in-service training and inter-library loan service to all local libraries in Allegheny County and the northwestern portion of Westmoreland County. (Westmoreland County was incorporated into another district in 1997.) As a Regional Resource Library in the fields of science and technology and
business, CLP was responsible for providing in-depth reference and research materials in these areas of knowledge for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2000, the designation was changed to Statewide Library Resource Center with an emphasis on overall collections, digitalization and virtual reference.
Other partnerships have and will continue to impact Library collections. The Oakland Library Consortium was formed in 1986 among Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the University of
Pittsburgh University Library System to focus on resource sharing, document delivery, and joint collection development projects. PALINET is a cooperative membership organization of public, academic and special libraries and museums and archives located in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The network facilitates union cataloging, resource sharing, cooperative purchasing, and promotes library cooperation. The Allegheny County Library Association is the federated library system designated by Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania. It exists to develop a county-wide plan of sharing resources and services among public libraries in Allegheny County and to encourage and promote cooperation among those libraries and to strengthen their resources. The eiNetwork, a collaboration of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Library Association, is an organization that strives to ensure equal opportunity for residents to access information electronically and provides the electronic infrastructure that enables the creation of a seamless educational environment to support lifelong learning.
Future Directions and Strategic Initiatives
In 2000, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh completed a comprehensive strategic study that examined the Library, its resources, and services. This process included extensive research and analysis of circulation statistics and demographic information, customer research, and an internal systems and organizational review. This has resulted in the reorganization of internal structures to make the Library more flexible and responsive to its customers. As we embark upon the 21st Century, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will be well positioned to better meet the issues facing a modern urban public library and to meet the needs of its customers in an electronic age. These
areas of special focus were identified as strategic initiatives that will impact on our collection development and management program.
- Consumer Health
Consumer health materials will be purchased for the Main Library's Consumer Health Information Service and for branch libraries. All appropriate formats including books, electronic resources, periodicals, and audiovisuals will be represented. Emphasis will be on materials geared toward consumers rather than medical or allied health professionals. Materials in all subjects relevant to consumer health, including wellness, disease and drug information, insurance, accessing the healthcare system, and alternative medicine will be
acquired. Although reference collections will be maintained for use onsite, the vast majority of items will circulate. Multiple copies of popular titles will be purchased to meet demand. Materials will be purchased at lower literacy levels. While core collections based on authoritative selection lists will be established in branches to ensure consistency throughout the system, titles that reflect the unique health needs of special populations within individual communities will also be included in collections.
- Senior Servies
Materials will be purchased to reflect the interests and needs of older
adults. Items that focus on aspects of individual subjects related to
seniors, e.g. elder law or senior fitness, will be acquired. Large print items will be purchased at an increased level to be placed in all appropriate library locations. Items, including books and audiovisuals, will be selected for inclusion in deposit collections to be placed in senior centers and residences.
A Senior Activity Kit collection is maintained to serve as resource material for older adult programming. These multimedia kits are used to encourage reminiscing by the elderly and are used by activity directors of senior centers, nursing homes, and other group institutions.
- Children and Young Adult Services
This strategic initiative includes several enhancements to existing services as well as the creation of new programs. Providing expanded services to the schools will be the responsibility of an outreach corps of Library staff.
Professional materials, in a variety of formats, to support the work of this team as well as enhanced professional collections at all locations will be purchased and updated as necessary. These professional materials will also support the Library's focus on staff training and development.
The creation of after school enrichment programs planned for the branches will also require the purchase of specialized materials. Books and other items for tutors, participants, and staff members will be selected.
Services and materials for teens will also be upgraded. Core teen
collections, including both print and audiovisual materials, will be
purchased for the Main Library and all of the branches. These collections will be updated and maintained as necessary.
Parameters of the Collection
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh selects materials for its collection in
accordance with professionally accepted guidelines in whatever format is
most appropriate. The Library will attempt to represent all approaches to
public issues of a controversial nature. The Library does not sanction
particular beliefs or views, nor is the selection of any given item
equivalent to an endorsement of the author or publisher's viewpoint.
The Library acquires materials of both permanent and current interest in
all subjects, based upon the merits of a work in relation to the needs,
interests, and demands of the community. While a single standard cannot be
applied to each work, the following general criteria are to be considered
when selecting materials for purchase: authoritativeness of the writer and
reputation of the publisher; accuracy of information; impartiality of
opinion, or clearly stated bias; timeliness of data; adequate breadth and
depth of coverage; appropriateness and relevancy of subject to the library's
users; popular demand; historical value; availability of similar material
within the community and other area libraries; organization and style
appropriate to the material and to the library's users; good quality
illustrations; special features, such as bibliography and index; durable
binding and paper; and value for price.
- Fiction Criteria: Works of contemporary fiction, classic works,
and novels of enduring value are included in the collection. Fiction is
selected according to the following criteria: popular demand; reputation of
the author and publisher; appropriateness to the library's users; importance
as a document of the times; relationship to the existing collection and to
other titles and authors dealing with the same subject; interest and
originality of plot and character development; style of writing; literary
merit; inclusion in standard library bibliographies; availability of similar
material within the community and other area libraries; the physical qualities
of the book; cost; and whether a title is part of an existing series.
Translations of foreign novels are acquired based on author reputation and
customer demand. Graphic novels are treated as ephemeral.
- Periodicals: Periodicals are publications issued and received on a
regular basis in print, microfilm, or electronic format. They form an
important part of the Library's collection. The periodicals collection is
intended to complement the book collection. Periodicals are selected
according to the following criteria: whether the periodical is included or
excluded in standard indexing and abstracting resources; cost; requests by
library users; whether the periodical has local or regional interest; and
whether a subject area needs to be expanded to help balance or enhance the
collection, for example when new topics are introduced to a field of study.
Periodicals are primarily in English. A few foreign titles are acquired in
selected technical areas where long runs of the journal are already owned.
General interest and popular periodicals that provide information of current
interest and recreational reading are selected for the Main Library and
Branch Libraries. Many of these titles are available for circulation.
Additionally, the Main Library selects special subject oriented titles for
reference use that provide in-depth coverage of topics that enhance the
overall departmental collections.
Periodicals are bound and retained indefinitely when their historic value
to the collection is established. The following factors must be considered
in any retention decision: cost; usage rates; shelf space required or
computer system compatibility; availability of the title in another format
such as microfilm or electronic media; and existing indexing in one of the
Library's indexing services.
Microfilm will be used to: replace little used but important periodicals and
newspapers; replace deteriorating print editions; supplement heavily used
titles; provide a working copy of valuable materials; and to complete runs
or fill gaps in important periodicals. Microfilm is not purchased to replace
print copy in which color and line are important. The Library recognizes its
responsibility to provide equipment to read and prepare print copies of
- Reference: Reference materials, whether in print or computer-based
formats, are those designed by the arrangement and treatment of their subject
matter to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be
read consecutively. They can provide quick, concise, and current information
or they may serve as an index to other materials in the collection. Since
they are typically used daily by the public and Library staff to answer
specific questions, books in the reference collection are designated for use
within the Library.
In selecting for the reference collections, the primary criteria are the
Library's users' information needs and the format in which that information
is available. Computer-based reference resources may be preferred over print
publications in some instances. These decisions will be based upon content,
currency, and ease of use. In addition to the general selection criteria
mentioned above, the following must be considered in acquiring materials for
the reference collections: favorable reviews or inclusion in basic reference
collection guides; reputation of the author or publisher; currency of
information; value for the price; and the expense of ongoing maintenance,
especially in the case of serial publications that will require frequent
To a very limited extent, items not falling strictly within the reference
format, but in high demand by library users, may be included in the reference
collection to allow maximum use, for example, civil service examination review
texts, business plans, resumes, etc. in order to insure their availability
in the Library at all times. Monographs are added to the reference collection
only if they present an overview of a subject that is not available in a
standard reference tool. Selected reference titles may be circulated at the
discretion of the agency head.
- Computer-Based Resources: This category includes computer-based
information resources available via the Internet or on a locally installed
CD-ROM. Digital information has become increasingly valuable to library users
because large quantities of data can be stored, manipulated, and the usage
tracked electronically. In some instances, this material may be available to
registered library users at remote locations via the Library's Web page.
This collection includes, but is not limited to, citation or full-text
databases and electronic books. The following criteria should be used when
considering computer-based resources for the collection: ease of use by
library users, including enhanced searching capabilities; price of print
format versus electronic; authority; accuracy; frequency of updating;
anticipated demand by library users; training requirements for staff and the
public; remote access capability; and licensing fees and usage restrictions.
Databases are made available under the auspices of the eiNetwork and are
purchased in one of four ways: 1) selected for statewide access from
Commonwealth Libraries as part of the Access Pennsylvania POWER library
project; 2) available in all libraries throughout Allegheny County and
selected by the Electronic Resources Evaluation Committee of the eiNetwork;
3) available system-wide for all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations;
or 4) available at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in individual departments
of the Main Library or other agencies.
- Videos and Digital Videodiscs (DVD): The Library's goal is to provide
a balanced collection including instructional, educational, and
literature-based videos as well as popular feature films. The following
selection criteria will be considered for videos and digital videodiscs:
favorable reviews in standard library reviewing sources; appropriateness
of the subject to the collection; appropriateness to the interests and skills
of the intended users; technical quality, i.e. clarity of picture and sound
quality; authority and competency of the producer; artistic merit and
reputation of the performers; the need for non-fiction and documentaries
to present accurate and current information; and cost. Some foreign language
films with English subtitles titles are chosen based on artistic merit and
Recorded Books: Recorded instructional, educational, fiction titles
and performances that parallel most areas of the general collection are made
available. At present, recorded books may be in either audiocassette or
compact disc format but future selection will take into account emerging
technologies and shifting demand. Both abridged and unabridged selections will
be purchased. In addition to the general criteria for selection, the following
criteria must be taken into account when selecting recorded books: authority
and competency of producer; artistic merit and reputation of the reader;
technical quality, i.e. sound quality; and value for the price.
Recorded Music: The Library strives to provide a collection of music
on compact disc and audiocassette that provides historical depth and
contemporary coverage, representing a broad variety of musical genres, and
taking into account the demand and interests of our customers. Selections
include instrumental and vocal recordings. The following criteria will be
taken into account when selecting music: authority and competency of producer;
artistic merit; technical quality; and cost.
- Images: Image collections are available in a variety of formats
including photographs, slides, and mounted pictures. As digital images
become more widely accessible, these collections will be reviewed.
Material Not Emphasized
Due to finite resources and limited demand, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
does not actively collect the following materials:
- Rare Books:
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's existing collection
may continue to be sustained. Additions to this collection will focus on
material related to Western Pennsylvania and the historical development of
While textbooks are not routinely purchased, they will be considered when
they offer a broad overview of a particular subject not available elsewhere
and/or when they are necessary to provide support for school curricula.
- Foreign Language: English as a Second Language (ESL),
introductory and instructional materials in foreign languages as well as
popular literature may be collected for both adults and children according
to customer demand.
- Dissertations and Theses: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh does not
collect these items.
- Obsolete formats: Beta videotapes, eight-track tapes, LP
recordings, etc., are not collected.
Materials are purchased in the most appropriate format for library use.
Although much of the Library's collection is offered in the traditional print
format, valuable information is increasingly available in audio-visual and
New formats will be considered for the collection when industry reports,
national survey results, and local requests indicate that a significant
portion of the community has the necessary technology to make use of the new
format. The following factors must be taken into consideration when deciding
whether to add a new format to the collection: availability of items in the
format; cost per item; and the Library's ability to acquire, process, and
circulate the items in the specific format. Older formats will be
discontinued when customer needs and technological advances result in
- Hardcover Books: Books are purchased in hardcover editions when
value and durability are key factors.
- Trade Paperbacks: This format includes paperback books which are
comparable in size to hardcover editions but which are typically lower in
cost. They are preferred in those cases where the hardcover edition is
extremely expensive and/or the title would be either used infrequently or
would be removed from the collection in a few years.
- Mass Market Paperbacks: This format includes paperback books that
are smaller in size than the typical hardcover or trade paperback book.
Mass-market paperbacks are purchased for recreational reading and the
collection both reflects and extends those titles purchased in hardcover.
- Serials: Serials are publications issued in successive parts
bearing numeric or chronological designations and intended to be continued
indefinitely. This format includes periodicals, newspapers and annuals or
continuations retained in the reference collections. They may include the
following physical formats: print, microform, and computer-based. Many sets
of serials are retained for their historical importance. Subject specialty
directories should be reviewed to determine if a pattern of retention within
the set is adequate based on user needs. For example, every third or fifth
year of a directory run may suffice to provide historical coverage.
- Government Documents: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was
established as a selective Federal Depository in 1895. The Library collects
Government Printing Office material in paper, microform and as electronic
data. The deposit program is supplemented by selections of Federal
publications issued by executive, judicial and legislative agencies and
quasi-governmental bodies. Selections are made based on the publications'
reference or research value. In general, categories of materials of a highly
technical nature are not selected unless they fall within the interest of
local business and industry. Federally issued indices, finding aids and
bibliographies or commercially published publications are emphasized. The
Library has made a major effort to acquire substantial sets of depository
government document in microformat, thus establishing a broad basis for
preservation of the existing print document collections. Access will be
provided to electronic government information as it becomes available in
evolving digital formats. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has been a
U. S. Patent depository library since 1902.
- Microforms: Microforms are used primarily for long-term storage
and preservation of out-of-print local history books*, periodicals,
newspapers, and some in-house indexes. Specialized microform collections
may be purchased to complement the library's indexes. Reference materials
may also be acquired in this format if the storage requirements or cost of
the print format would be prohibitive. *Copyright provisions are adhered to.
- Pamphlets and Clippings: Pamphlets and clippings are collected
selectively and primarily represent information of local current or
historical interest, or federal, state, or local government document
information. They should not duplicate materials available in other formats.
- Video/Digital Videodisc: Entertainment, instructional and
educational films are available for video viewing in either the VHS or DVD
format as warranted by customer demand.
- Audio Cassettes: The most affordable recorded books and
performances are available in cassette format. Both abridged and unabridged
titles are included in the Library's collection.
- Compact Discs: Musical recordings are most readily available on
compact disc. This format is distinguished by its durability and technical
quality. Therefore, the Library will collect recorded music primarily in this
format. Recorded books will also be purchased on compact disc as customer
- Large Print Books: Books printed in larger than 16-point type
serve a variety of purposes including making materials accessible to those
with visual impairments, learning disabilities and other special needs. The
Library attempts to provide a variety of titles in this format, including
fiction, popular non-fiction, and limited reference titles.
- Computer-Based Resources: This format includes on-line databases
available via the Internet and limited CD-ROM resources mounted on local
computer servers. Citation databases provide references to sources of
information rather than the actual text or information. Full-text databases
include complete articles, documents, and any other resources that provide
actual text and information. The increased availability of information in
digital formats allows users to manipulate data in ways that may not be
cost-effective in other formats. The ability to use Boolean searching
techniques and to download information provides flexibility for customers and
staff. Electronic books make it possible for customers to access a wide
range of reference and reading materials on-line and via portable reading
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's customer base includes individuals of
all ages. Special materials for children and young adults take into
consideration developmental and educational needs as well as demand for
recreational reading and literacy materials. The needs of seniors for
materials in special formats and/or on particular topics are also addressed
by the Library's collections. Materials for adults include items appropriate
for business, leisure, home and personal use.
Donated materials are subject to the same thoughtful review as purchased
materials. Timeliness, usefulness, out-of print status, and condition are
among the criteria considered. The Library reserves the right to decide
which items will be added to the collection and to dispose of gifts as it
deems appropriate. The Library also reserves the right to decline gifts.
When gifts of over 50 items are presented for addition to any agency's
collection they must be approved by the Coordinator of Collection Services.
Weeding and Replacement
Weeding is an integral part of effective collection development. An active
and continuous weeding program is essential in maintaining a viable and
useful collection. Materials are withdrawn from the Library's collection
through systematic deselection or because of loss or physical damage.
The following categories of materials should be considered for weeding:
worn or mutilated items; duplicate copies of seldom used copies; materials
which contain outdated or inaccurate information; superseded editions of
specific titles; and materials no longer of interest or in demand.
Before discarding material of local interest, agencies should contact the
Pennsylvania Department. Periodical and serial runs that are withdrawn
should be offered to Oakland Library Consortium partners, Carnegie Mellon
University Libraries and the University of Pittsburgh University Library
In order to represent the diversity of thought within the community, it is
very important that the public library's collection contain materials
representing differing points of view. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
does not endorse particular beliefs or views, nor does the selection of an
item express or imply an endorsement of the viewpoint expressed by the author.
There may be occasions when a member of the community objects to a particular
item in the Library's collection. If a library user wishes the Library to
reconsider material that is in the collection, a Materials Reconsideration
Request form is available. A committee of professional librarians will meet
to review such requests, and a written response will be sent to the customer.
Preservation and Storage
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh takes seriously its responsibility to
preserve, to the degree that funds permit, collection materials that are
rare or in fragile condition. Grant funds are sought to enhance this
process with priority given to materials that are of local importance.
Most items identified for preservation are placed in the climate-controlled
Special Collections Department. Some materials are reformatted into
microfilm or photocopy facsimiles, some are placed in archival phase boxes,
and some are encapsulated. Photographic collections may be reformatted,
producing duplicate negatives and prints. In the future some print and
photographic materials may be digitized.
In some cases due to onsite space constraints, older reference materials
that retain historical importance but are in reasonably good condition are
housed remotely. They are readily accessible to customers through use of
the catalog and other departmental finding aids.
The Collection Services Department oversees all aspects of collection
development, including selection, maintenance and deselection. Selections
are made using resources that include, but are not limited to: ABPR,
Appraisal, Booklist, Brodart TIPS, Bulletin of the
Center for Children's Books, Horn Book, Ingram Advance,
Kirkus, Library Journal, New York Times Book Review,
Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal. Publishers' catalogs, subject bibliographies, suggestions from professional staff and customer requests are also utilized.
The Collection Services Coordinator selects materials in all formats and manages materials budgets for the Branch Libraries and General Reference and Circulation Services of the Library Center.
Under the leadership of the Collection Development Coordinator, Main Library
Department Subject Specialists examine reviewing tools and popular culture
resources weekly and identify items to be added to the department collections
following prescribed procedures. Department Heads are responsible for the
overall management of the department materials budget and for assuring that
the materials selected by the subject specialists meet standards set forth
in the collection development policy. The method by which departments
delegate the subject collection responsibilities varies according to specific
needs and staffing of each department. Departments may be asked to provide
special collection development subject lists upon request of the Collection
Electronic databases are purchased system-wide for Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh or for individuals Main Library departments or agencies. The
Electronic Resources Committee, chaired by the Collection Services
Coordinator, selects them.
The Coordinator of Juvenile Collections chooses materials in all formats and manages material budgets for the Branch Libraries, the Family Center area of the Library Center, and the Children's Department of the Main Library.
Evaluation of Collections
The continuous review of library materials is necessary as a means of
maintaining an active library collection of current interest to users.
The WLN Conspectus is a collection analysis tool that provides data about
the non-fiction holdings of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the member
libraries of Allegheny County Library Association. This data may be used
to evaluate the content, age and breadth of the libraries' collections,
providing a snapshot of what is held individually and collectively.
Statistical tools such as circulation reports and collection turnover rates
may also provide useful data. The professional expertise of both agency and
Collection Services staff is also an important component in the ongoing
evaluation of our collections.
Review of CLP Collection Development and
This policy will be evaluated every three years and updated as necessary.