We returned to Lawrenceville where we started our library adventure. It was the branch where we’d gotten our CLP Passports and our first stamp. Librarian Steve gave us the forms to fill out. He offered to stamp our passports but we already had the stamp. He stamped our notes pages with the extra large stamper though! A bonus stamp. He also emailed us the pdf brochures about each library branch we visited. Thank you.
What a fun time Jen and I had driving all over the city, collecting the stamps at the nineteen branches within the city limits. It was her idea to participate and I’m so glad she invited me along.
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.
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.”
(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.
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.
At the Carnegie Main Library Branch you can checkout a chair, a ukulele, or board games. There are tool libraries and cake pans to be loaned at different county libraries.
When I arrived and asked to have my passport stamped, Christopher asked if I’d like to see something? I said yes. He took me first to the children’s room and opened the door revealing this tiny marble sink.
Then after he thoughtfully inquired could I climb stairs? (there was an elevator, too) he took me to see the dinosaurs in the Museum of Natural History. We walked through the stacks to this window and could see the display in the museum with an aerial view. So cool!
Up again to the 11th floor (this time in the elevator) to see the rooftop views
Thank you Christopher for the special tour of the Main Branch.
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 1￼899.
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
We were in the library parking garage in downtown Columbus. He’s the one who saw this and pointed to it and I took the photo. Good find, Charlie!
Around 1850! Who knew?
The words Hendricks House on the historical marker caught my eye as I was a passenger in the back seat. We were at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck a couple of weeks ago and staying in Red Hook where this landmark is located. It’s the town’s Public Library.
Built in 1865. Randi pulled over so I could capture these pics.
“The Hendricks House is a rare surviving example of the octagonal concrete form of house construction popularized in the mid-19th century by phrenologist and author Orson Squire Fowler, whose book A Home for All (1850, 1854) launched a nationwide fad for octagonal buildings. Between 1847 and 1856, Fowler built his own octagonal concrete house in nearby Fishkill, which may have provided inspiration for local builders in Dutchess County”
Another guest blog today.
The New York Public Library Lions don masks.
My sister has taken the role of a NYC tourist as she walks in the city and today she photographed Patience and Fortitude. They’re carved from pink Tennessee marble, designed by sculptor Edward Clark Potter.
Read about their naming and renaming here