Gems in the West End Branch: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

My friend Jen and I used to teach together for six years.  She was the librarian and I was the art teacher.  We got together last week and she asked if I’d signed up for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Summer Reading Program and if I had gotten a CLP Passport? No, I had not. But I have now.  There are nineteen branches from which to get a stamp from, in the Passport.  Since Jen had already been to Lawrenceville, West End and the Main Library I decided to catch up with her. Monday she and I will start the adventure together to visit more branches across the city.

This morning I drove to the West End Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  

I received a warm welcome from Anastasia at the desk. She offered to give me a tour. All the wood is original and the library opened in 1899.

First item she showed me was the framed Civil Defense Sign.

Then we went down to the basement and she showed me the wooden cabinets painted by Theodore Hamiel in 1959, depicting many well known story book characters.  Mr. Hamiel was the library’s custodian.

Librarian Beth went and got an January 20, 1959 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the paintings.

Other treasures in the library sit atop the shelves.  There’s a replica of the Library (Anastasia got me a footstool so I could photograph it) and buildings that were in the West End in the 1970’s.

Some of the buildings represented are nonexistent now.   Nick Tutino created all the models in his retirement.  

You can read more about Mr. Hamiel and Mr. Tutino in the article link that Anastasia recommended here CLP West End:Structurally Similar, Completely Unique

Kyra is in charge of Children’s Services.  There are Preschool StoryTimes and Playtimes for Birth to 5 year olds with toys and games. “Allegedly, the West End Branch is where the FIRST library Storytime took place.” she said.

I really appreciated the personalized tour of the West End Branch and seeing the treasures housed here. I’m checking out a book at each branch when I visit.

There’s free parking in a lot and accessible entrance with elevator to take you up to the main floor.


Next stop- Main Library in Oakland

14 thoughts on “Gems in the West End Branch: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

  1. We’ve been to many of the Carnegie Libraries but never the West End Branch. Your pictures show it”s beauty. I will have to visit.

  2. What fun! Great way to spend the summer. Our DIL is a the children’s librarian in nearby Concord MA. It’s fascinating to hear and see what is offered to engage the public in local libraries. When I was young, my dad took me to the library every week so he could gather his weekly reading. He often walked out with 4 or 5 books!! We started going to the Main Library because he was running out of options at the local branch.

  3. I used to take a bus to the west end library when I was in high school. I loved the ambiance.

Thanks for your visit. It's always good to hear you stopped by.