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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh begins expansion of East Liberty branch

On September 26, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) hosted a community meeting with forty residents to discuss the expansion and renovation of its East Liberty branch at 130 South Whitfield Street.

Architects Gary Carlough and Anne Chen of EDGEstudio are designing the project and co-facilitating the community-based planning.

Construction is expected to begin in 2007 and will take up to 18 months. The seventh renovation undertaken by the CLP, the project will seek LEED certification and is expected to cost between two and nine million dollars.

Three major themes emerged during the meeting--accessibility, visibility and services. Patrons, residents and business owners from East Liberty, Homewood, Friendship, and Bloomfield-Garfield suggested making the library’s entrance and parking more visible and accessible.

“Residents want us to be very cognizant of East Liberty’s master plan,” says Suzanne Thinnes with CLP.

Participants suggested improvements for the children’s section, computer center and meeting rooms, and suggested a drive-through book drop. Plans to expand a parklet on library property were reviewed.

“Community needs will be met without duplicating efforts already in place,” says Thinnes. “People also suggested we select warm and inviting colors.”

Thinnes feels that library users are better equipped to provide input because they have experienced renovations of other branches. The CLP will host a focus group of children to ask them to talk about and draw ideas for the library.

“As technology develops, we want the library to keep up,” says Thinnes.

Razed during urban renewal, East Liberty’s original branch was built in 1905 at the corner of Lorimer and Station Streets. Built during the 1960s, the current location is the third largest branch in the CLP system.

Writer: Jennifer Baron
Source: Suzanne Thinnes, communications manager, CLP

Image courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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