"Since my oldest daughter Maya was born we have spent at least two
weekends a month visiting the Library,"
Library customer Suzy Scherf told
reporters during the June kickoff of the Our Library, Our Future initiative.
"I am supporting this initiative because I believe that Carnegie Library
of Pittsburgh is a vital resource for our community."
This summer, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh supporters officially launched
Our Library, Our Future, a community-based voter initiative created to help
secure the future of the Library. The initiative asks voters to support a 0.25 mill
special tax (equivalent of $25 per year or $2.09 per month on $100,000 of
assessed value) on all taxable real estate in the City of Pittsburgh to be allocated
and used solely for the operation and maintenance of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
The Our Library, Our Future initiative is just one of six solutions recommended by
the Public Private Task Force on Sustainable Library Funding to provide the Library
with the diverse and sustained funding it needs.
More than 200 volunteers from around the city spent six weeks canvassing neighborhoods, going door-to door and having a strong presence at Pittsburgh events, collecting 10,739 notarized signatures on a petition to place the referendum on the November 2011 ballot. On July 26, Our Library, Our Future volunteers David Malehorn, Susanne Park and an assembly of the Library's youngest customers formally presented the petition and hundreds of "Why I Love My Library Postcards" to Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris. Council members accepted the petition, which will now be turned over to the Allegheny County Board of Elections for verification. Though only 2,769 signatures were needed, the sheer volume of nearly 11,000 signatures from city voters demonstrates the broad support and momentum behind the initiative.
"It has been so moving to see thousands of Pittsburgh residents get behind this effort," says Ms. Park. "The Library has been such an important part of my life here, and so many people who signed the petition said the same thing. The Library is an institution to this city, and I'm honored to do my part to support it."