You love your library – or you ought to.
To honor those who love it so much they work hard to ensure its future, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
created a Community Advocate award – and the library is seeking nominations once again this year, with a March 1 deadline.
The award was created three years ago to recognize those who pushed to get a voter question on the November 2011 ballot to increase taxes to support the libraries. It passed with 72 percent of the vote.
"Our board and our trustees were just overwhelmed by such a grassroots effort," says Maggie McFalls, Carnegie Library's community engagement coordinator. The first Community Advocate Award went to those behind the voter initiative.
Now the library is seeking nominees for this year's award, to be presented at the annual public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on March 26 at the East Liberty branch. Nominations will be accepted online and at "nomination stations" at all libraries.
Honorees can be an individual or group. "Because the library serves everybody, we get every type of volunteer and advocate you can imagine," says McFalls: teens, seniors and volunteer friends-of-the-library groups for every branch.
The Squirrel Hill branch's group, for instance, has been a strong organization for years, she says, conducting very successful book sales, lately with an online component. The solid Lawrenceville branch advocacy team was formed in 2009 when local artists and activists mobilized after the branch faced possible closure.
Teens come to the library to paint murals in the stacks, McFalls notes. Young volunteers help to work the Carnegie Library's after-hours events. All it takes to help the library system, and win the award, she concludes, is "just a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the importance of libraries."
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Maggie McFalls, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh