Dear Editor:

For so many people in this city, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh does much more than provide books and DVDs. To many of our neighbors, the Library is a place of learning, hope and new beginnings. In these tough times, the Library opens doors for those in need by providing resume help, job search assistance, computer access and so much more. For all that the Library gives to our community, it is time that we now commit ourselves to supporting the Library by voting for the Our Library, Our Future referendum.

On Nov. 8, Pittsburgh voters will have an opportunity to show their commitment to this valuable resource by voting to help provide sustained funding for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. As they did a century ago when Andrew Carnegie founded Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, library buildings continue to function as cornerstones of society—providing gathering places and promoting lifelong literacy and learning. A vote for the referendum is not only a vote for books, but for community empowerment and development.

For those of you who have visited the renovated Hill District and Homewood locations, it is obvious what a tremendous difference the Library makes to these communities. Because of the community’s investment in library facilities, more people are visiting the Library than ever before. With a renewed sense of excitement, libraries are contributing to the educational attainment, economic development and cultural enrichment of our city.

Investment in the Library is investment in the community. And if there is one thing we can all support, it is providing opportunities for economic development in our neighborhoods so that our children and grandchildren can grow up with clean streets, educational and job opportunities, and safe and secure neighborhoods.

When you visit any of the Library locations, particularly the newly renovated ones, it is a joy to see so many children taking advantage of the after school services. These students have found a community in the Library where they can make new friends, read new books and start the pathway towards lifelong learning.

On the other side of the Library at the computer banks, adult Library visitors are engrossed in their job searches and getting questions answered by the librarians. At Homewood, a lifelong Pittsburgh citizen browses the Library’s 12,000 item African-American collection as he tries to learn more about his culture and heritage.

The amazing thing is that these are but a small handful of the ways members of this community use Library resources to enrich themselves and their neighborhoods. As we continue to invest in this valuable resource, we can rejoice together at the tremendous investment that we see come back to us.

On Election Day, the Library needs your support in the polling booth. Library supporters, young and old, from all parts of the city, are knocking on doors and asking that you vote “yes” on the ballot initiative, vote “yes” to maintaining the health of one of the city’s most precious and valued institutions and vote “yes” to investing in our neighborhoods.

The ballot question asks for a zero point two-five (0.25) mills special tax on all taxable real estate in the City of Pittsburgh to be allocated and used only for the operation and maintenance of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This is the equivalent of $25 per year or $2.09 per month on $100,000 of assessed value. It’s a tough time for many of our neighbors, but this vote is worth it. When we vote for the Library, we see a strong return on our investment in the form of after-school programs, job search assistance, computer access, and a community meeting spot.

With your help, the Library can provide critical services and resources to our community for many years to come.

Please talk to your friends and families about how important the Library is to you—and make sure that you vote YES to support Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on November 8. To learn more about the Our Library, Our Future initiative and how you can help, visit

Esther L. Bush, President and CEO Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

M. Gayle Moss, NAACP President

James J. Barnes, Chairman of the Board of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Task Force Member

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