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After three years, North Side Carnegie Library reopens

Three years ago, the North Side branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) was struck by lighting and severely damaged.

This weekend, that branch will reopen in a new location, in a new building, with a new set of services and sense of community.

The branch, called Allegheny in honor of the North Side's history, is located at 1230 Federal St, just two blocks away from the old library at 5 Allegheny Square. The former location is now being used as a book depository, and the building also currently houses the New Hazlett Theater and a senior care center.

The 15,500-square-foot CLP Allegheny was designed by Friendship/Garfield-based Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects, and Massaro Corporation served as contractor. The single-level library is staffed by nine, and includes an outdoor terrace, an historic reading room and a children's room. It will offer free education, entertainment and career resources to residents of the North Side and the surrounding neighborhoods that have been library-less for the past few years.

The library will host a ribbon-cutting event and celebration Sat., Aug. 29, complete with tours, storytimes, crafts and activities.

Suzanne Thinnes, with CLP, encourages all library-goers to voice their support of CLP to funders and community leaders. The Library currently estimates expenses for the system will begin to exceed revenues beginning in 2010, and that the deficit will grow to more than $6 million by 2014.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that Andrew Carnegie provided long-term funding to operate the library system, when he didn't," says Thinnes. "He thought that each community should be responsible for their own library. I think people take libraries for granted. But it's up to us to protect Pittsburgh's libraries and make sure branches stay open and programming continues."

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Suzanne Thinnes, communication manager, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Photograph courtesy Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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