At 31%, libraries historically are RAD's single largest category.
Allegheny County has 45 independent libraries (some with branches) throughout the County plus the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and its 18 branches.
The county libraries are federated into a system under the umbrella of the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA). ACLA coordinates and distributes its RAD grant for basic services to its member libraries.
ACLA operates the bookmobile service, jointly manages the eiNetwork with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and assists libraries and communities with various programs and issues. The District is the major funder of the eiNetwork (the system that links each library's collections via computer) and the Mobile Library Services (formerly bookmobile). ACLA distributed $6 million in RAD funds to 45 separate member libraries in 2017.
RAD Impact on Libraries
By many standards— programs, materials, leveraged financing, attendance, circulation—libraries are in significantly better condition today than in 1994.
Because of cooperation between RAD, the Allegheny County Library Association and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, a patron, remarkably, needs only one library card to use any public library in Allegheny County. Geographical and virtual boundaries are now non-existent when it comes to library services.
- By the end of 2018, libraries will have received nearly $590 million in District funds.
- $153 million has been allocated for suburban libraries—funding that simply did not exist prior to 1995—including $4.8 million (since 2001) for Bookmobile service to senior center, preschools and other communities.
- RAD has invested $54 million in grants for the electronic information network (eiN) the digital system that links all member libraries and Bookmobiles, and provides a shared Catalog, databases, catalogues and other online communication. The Catalog is the online collection of all eiNetwork public libraries in Allegheny County. There are about 3.5 million items listed in the catalogue. The Catalog can be seached from any computer or mobile device via the Internet, and materials may be borrowed from, delivered to and returned to any library in the system.
- Some 2,500 public desktop and laptop computers have been linked at over 77 sites, via the eiN. New models replaced old ones throughout the County in 2017, featuring updated processors and the latest creative suite of software.
- Carnegie Library’s $14 million RAD-backed bond issue jump-started a now $64 million capital improvement plan. The RAD Board extended the District’s commitment to CLP to make possible the bond issue.
- Capital improvements throughout the county include accessibility projects like elevators, automated entrance doors and ramps, HVAC system improvements, roof repairs, exterior renovations and building expansions.
- Libraries have eliminated non-resident card fees.
- More than 20 suburban libraries have opened new facilities or branches, or expanded, including Bridgeville, Cooper-Siegel and Millvale .