Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

People often think of the library as a place to sit quietly while reading or studying.

But the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is challenging that stereotype by turning the library into a creative hub for teens.

It was the second week of June, and Pittsburgh Public Schools had been out of session for two days. And yet, half a dozen teenagers and pre-teens were sitting around a table, enthusiastically engaging in a lesson about ancient Egypt.

“What do we know about Egypt and why was it such a big deal?” asked Oliva Hric, museum educator with the Carnegie Library of Natural History. “Can you think of anything in the landscape that maybe would make Egypt a really great place to live?”

“Because they were on the Nile River they could have had a good water supply,” answered 12-year-old Jonathan Freeman, clearly familiar with the concept.

Freeman and the other teens weren’t at summer school; they were at The Labs at the Carnegie library’s East Liberty branch.

As the school year ends, summer learning loss, or "summer slide," might begin.  According to the National Summer Learning Association, the loss amounts to about two months in math for all students and two months in reading for low-income students, while unequal access to summer learning opportunities might  account for half the achievement gap between low- and high-income students.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s West End branch might be a historic landmark, but its story is still being written.

The library will reopen to the public Saturday after a seven-month, $1.7 million renovation.

The library is inviting the community to the grand re-opening celebration, which will, among other things, include self-guided tours and 3D printing demonstrations.

During March, the Community College of Allegheny County will be reminding Pittsburghers to enjoy a good book.

The Big Read, a national program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, will bring together organizations around the region to promote literacy.

“What we hope this will do for literacy is to spark an interest in reading because reading is good for the soul, it elevates the mind, it promotes critical thinking and it helps you to experience other cultures,” said Barbara Evans, associate dean of academic affairs and Big Read project director at CCAC.

Justin Merriman / justinmerriman.blogspot.com/

Kalpana Biswas, filmmaker and Board Chairperson of Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh, decided to make a film about women and children in Afghanistan, but she had no experience when it came to filming in an area of conflict.

This led her to ask journalists in the Pittsburgh area for advice on how to prepare. One of the major questions that she asked was, “How do I go through filming without endangering myself?”

The 114-year-old Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s West End branch is turning a new page with a series of renovations.

Spokeswoman Suzanne Thinnes said the renovations will include the branch’s first air conditioning system and elevator.

“By having air conditioning throughout the entire library, it really will bring people in during all aspects of the year to come in and be able to enjoy library services,” Thinnes said.

The “State of the Library” along with other issues surrounding the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP), such as 2012 accomplishments as well as plans for 2013, will be discussed at a meeting with the general public as part of their community engagement strategy.

Library spokeswoman Suzanne Thinnes said to expect a few surprise announcements at the meeting.

Carnegie Library Gets More Revenue than Expected

Feb 27, 2013
Joseph A. / Flickr

The Carnegie Library will be adding services and increasing hours at some of its 19 locations in the City of Pittsburgh because the property tax reassessment in Allegheny County has increased this year’s expected proceeds by $900,000.  Unlike local governments and school districts, libraries are not subject to the anti-windfall provisions of state law that require a millage reduction to limit tax increases.