Questions & Answers
All Allegheny County residents may receive a library card free of charge with proper identification. A parent or legal guardian must sign for an applicant under 18 years old. Check with your local library for more details.
If you are not a resident of Allegheny County and you belong to a library that participates in Access PA, you may receive a library card in any Allegheny County library free of charge. Check with you local library for more details.
With a valid library card, you can borrow all sorts of library materials including:
- Magazines (in participating libraries)
- DVDs and Videos
- Music CDs
- Books on Tape and CD
- Other specialty items
Check with your local library for details on borrowing policies (including length of time, number of items, and overdue fine amounts).
With a valid library card from a public library in Allegheny County, you can access library services (from any public library in Allegheny County) including:
- Borrow library materials
- Access computers and the Internet
- Participate in programs
- Utilze any service a library's local resident can access
If you are a resident outside of Allegheny County and you have a library card from a library that participates in Access PA, you may also have access to library services. Check with your local library for details.
Yes. Public libraries in Allegheny County receive money from the Regional Asset District (RAD), the 1% sales tax. The RAD requires all libraries that receive funding to provide services to all residents in Allegheny County, regardless of their resident municipality.
To obtain a library card, simply go to your library of choice and ask to get a library card. Instructions are included above.
Depends on the library. Each library sets its own borrowing policies and fines. The number of items you can check out also varies. Check with your local library for more details.
No! You can return your books (any library material) to any library in Allegheny County. The State provides funding for a delivery service operated locally by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This service transports library materials to any Allegheny County Library in order to fulfill patron requests, as well as return books to the owning library.
Yes. The eiNetwork (library support agency funded by the Allegheny Regional Asset District) connects all of the public libraries in Allegheny County to the Internet. Libraries are connected at the highest speed possible. In addition to connectivity, the eiNetwork coordinates a computer lease program for public libraries. This enables libraries to offer top of the line computers without paying a high price.
The eiNetwork is a library support agency, funded through the Allegheny Regional Asset District. It is a joint partnership between the Allegheny County Library Association and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The eiNetwork:
- Connects all Allegheny County public libraries to a common catalog
- Provides Internet access to more than 80 library locations in Allegheny County
- Maintains library PCs and printers
- Provides Assistive Technology to member libraries
To learn more about the eiNetwork click here.
Libraries are funded by a combination of government tax dollars:
- Local Municipality
- Allegheny Regional Asset District (1% Sales tax)
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (State tax dollars)
Over 50% of library funding comes from the local municipality. 25% comes from the RAD tax and 25% comes from state dollars. In 2004, state library funding was cut substantially. As a result, services and outreach has been reduced, staff have been reduced to either part-time or were let go. Library collections were also cut. It is because of the RAD and the local municipality libraries in Allegheny County can continue to provide quality service.
Overdue fines, lost item charges, and used books sales are a very small portion of the overall library budget. Tax dollars are essential to the operation of a quality library.
You would be surprised to know what other services libraries offer. Libraries provide:
- Outreach to senior centers
- Outreach to preschool centers
- Homebound book delivery service
- Computer and Internet classes
- Online encyclopedias and databases you can access from home
- Children's storytimes & crafts
- Discussion salons
- Foreign language classes
- Current events lectures
- How to seminars
- SAT assistance
- Tax assistance
Depending on local municipal support, some libraries provide all of these services and more. Check with your local library for more information.