Nine Carnegie Libraries in an Afternoon

Our Carnegie Passports are All Stamped

We started at the Homewood Branch where we were welcomed by Ray. After he stamped our passports he showed us an historic photo of the library and told us how the windows were uncovered during the renovation and the daylight was pouring in. We inquired about the caretaker’s apartment which we’d heard about. He called us back to the Customer Service Desk and introduced us to the Library manager, Morgan, who was able to take us upstairs and downstairs to the auditorium on a tour. And Ray was exactly right about seeing those ornate windows from above. Morgan showed us how they were used to regulate air flow. As we left the library we saw the hundreds of names on a WWI Memorial Plaque honoring the Homewood residents who gave their lives.

Our next stop was Squirrel Hill which was all glass and modern as we entered via the glass elevator. We learned there are “900 Holds” at the library making it one of the busiest and absolutely no squirrels in residence. Our passport stamper was “Customer Service Associate Number Two” who directed us to a display of historic documents at the front of the library. The view outside is the Forbes Avenue Squirrel Hill Business District

How about the breakout window boxes where you can crawl in and read?

The Hazelwood Branch was next and Customer Engagement Associate Theressa offered us a choice of the regular or extra large stamp! Asher (Adult Services) told us that the downstairs held The Family Center. We saw the colorful metal artwork of Homestead artist David Lewis inviting us to the Children’s Section.

We had a brief stop at Page’s Ice Cream where Jen bought me a sticker.

We had just crossed the Monongahela and we’re going right by the well know ice cream spot.

It was truly on the way to the Knoxville Branch. Kyler stamped our passports and showed us the location of historic information, touting Brutalist Architecture which is the style of the building.

Knoxville Branch on Brownsville Road

The Carrick Branch sheltered us from a quick downpour of rain. Laura, Caren and Ben each shared information about the renovation and again we chose the extra large stamp. The rug squares look like stones with grass growing in between the blocks. Every branch has a dedicated Teen Space and Children’s Section. “CLP – Carrick is the first public library in North America built completely using Passive House architectural techniques.”

Next stop was the Brookline Branch. You might notice the photos are fewer as time was ticking away Friday afternoon and all the branches would close by 5PM. Tallulah stamped our passports and told us how the library was in a church basement and this was its third location. It is also a LEED building “ Following the renovation, CLP – Brookline was named “Library Building of the Year” by the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association. The location has also been LEED-certified by the Green Building Alliance.”

Brookline Branch on Brookline Boulevard
Isn’t this a colorful space in the front of the library?

(Right down the block from the Brookline branch was PitaLand where we got spinach pies for supper)

The Beechview Branch is “the only branch with active trolley tracks running in front”, said Ann the traveling librarian who was stamping our passports.

Two more stops to go. Could we make it by five? My phone ran out of charge. Jen was expertly driving down some pretty steep streets and I closed my eyes for one of her maneuvers. We were determined to get to the final library branch snd get our passports completed and fill out the form so we could get our CLP T-Shirts with all the stamps on the front. We heard they were about out of shirts. Ooops.

Photo taken by Jen
On top of the world. Mt. Washington photo by Jen

Welcomed by Chelsey and Diana at our next to last stop. What a cool location looking out at the city. CLP Mt. Washington Branch was a lovely spot with a spectacular view. We could see an outdoor patio with tables and umbrellas which looked so inviting. For another day, when we weren’t on a mission. Nine libraries in an afternoon. What were we thinking?

Just the Downtown Branch on Smithfield Street. At traffic time. Friday afternoon. Crossing over the Liberty Bridge we knew we were going to make it in time. Jen stayed in the car at the curb in front of the Downtown Branch and I ran in with our passports. Jacob stamped them and when I asked said he had a plan to visit all the branches via bicycle. Oh my! Downtown is noted for their Business section.
“CLP – Downtown supports the thousands of people who live, work, study, shop and visit Downtown Pittsburgh” Alas no photos you’ll have to click the link. No power left in my phone and Jen had to stay with the car so we didn’t get a ticket or tow. Almost 5pm so no time to make it back to home library in Lawrenceville to fill out the form. They didn’t have the forms downtown.

Saturday! One more stop what a fun adventure. You can click the branch names for more information about each location.

10 thoughts on “Nine Carnegie Libraries in an Afternoon

  1. I am so excited that you did this. As your pictures show each library is inviting and colorful!

  2. What a fun challenge. And some very interesting libraries. It looks like you had a great time!

  3. I love libraries, and each of these look very special in their own unique way. What a fun way to spend a day! (Though I doubt I could have gone to all of them in a single day; I like to linger…) 🙂

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