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Reading Marathon Promotes Tax To Benefit Library System

Supporters and staff will read aloud from their favorite books for 24 consecutive hours on the main steps of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) in Oakland from noon Friday, October 14 till noon Saturday.

"We decided to do this as a way to demonstrate how much the library means to us, the staff, and give the community an opportunity to share in the event and say the same thing," said Mary Monaghan, assistant director for neighborhood libraries at CLP. "We're basically saying we love the library so much, we're going to stay up all night to prove it."

Monaghan said she really wasn't sure how many people would want to participate "but our schedule is absolutely packed and we had to turn people away who wanted to read."

Voters Asked To Increase Taxes For Library

In between the readings, those who come out to listen will be urged to vote "yes" on a referendum on the November ballot that asks Pittsburghers if they would support a .25 mill increase in their property taxes with the revenues going to support the operation and maintenance of the main Carnegie Library and its branches. That means an owner of a property valued at $100,000 would pay an additional $25 in real estate taxes. The millage rate increase would raise between $3.25 and $3.5 million dollars a year.

The library system is facing a projected deficit of $5 million in 2014. The library system's 2011 budget is $27.26 million with nearly $20.6 million of that coming from the additional 1% sales tax levied in Allegheny County. Andrew Carnegie did not create an endowment for the library because he believed future generations should support it.

Reading Marathon Begins Friday At Noon

Monaghan says the "Read to the People" event is geared to both children and adults.

"In the afternoon (Friday) and Saturday morning, we're doing a lot of kid stories so parents can bring their kids and feel comfortable," Monaghan said. "In the middle of the night, we're doing horror stories and more grown up stuff that adults can listen to and enjoy as well."

Guest readers include actor David Conrad, author Kathleen George, Abby Lee Miller from Lifetime's "Dance Moms," and local celebrities.