Tag Archives: Andrew Carnegie


I find it absolutely hilarious that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh shares its birthday with V for Vendetta day (a/k/a Guy Fawkes day for those of you who don’t speak geek). For starters, V. and Carnegie would not have liked each other at all. Also, V. was concerned about helping the common man by blowing up powerful institutions; Carnegie, for his part, was often unkind to ordinary folks, but was still interested in building institutions for them. The irony is more than a little palpable.

So, in addition to everything else you need to remember today, take note that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh turns 120 years old this November 5th. It’s hard to believe so much time has passed; much has changed, but many things have remained the same. Governor Daniel Hartman Hastings, one of the speakers at the Library’s 1895 dedication ceremony, had this to say of the enterprise:

The public library is equally a public necessity and a public blessing. Its unfolding and spreading influence for good is beyond calculation. This community already thrills in anticipation of the blossoming and the ripening fruit to come from the tree this day planted.

Here is a temple of enduring stone which will stand through the ages, whose grand and graceful proportions will be a constant source of pleasure to the beholder. Here, Music will charm the ear and gladden the soul. Here, Art will welcome and inspire her devotees. Here, Literature will sit upon her throne and the children of men will gather wisdom at her feet. Here are assembled the representatives of the greatest industrial community in the land to receive the trust committed to their keeping by a benefactor and a philanthropist.

Today the temple of stone is still, indeed, standing*. She’s had a bit of work done, but is all the better for it. Music is still here, and still charming. Art remains welcoming. Literature has expanded her kingdom by leaps and bounds, in ways Carnegie himself couldn’t have predicted. And the Library has consistently—most recently through its current strategic plan—proved itself both a blessing and a necessity to the Pittsburgh region. One of the city’s biggest, best fruit baskets, so to speak.

Nothing there anyone could complain about. Not even V.

Super Science @ CLP - Squirrel Hill, circa 2012 - photographer unknown. Click through to learn more about STEM programming at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Super Science @ CLP – Squirrel Hill, circa 2012 – photographer unknown. Click through to learn more about STEM programming at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Will the Library still be here 120 years from now, when we all have internet chips in our brains and we finally get those hoverboards we were promised? I think so. It might look different, but the mission will still be the same: to engage our community in literacy and learning. Complex characters both fictional and historical will still be here, whispering reason—or revolution—as you walk by. And of course, through our programs, services and community engagements, the Library will still be planting, and harvesting, all sorts of fruit for you to enjoy.

The grandeur of the past, the excitement of the present and the hope of the future. Who could ask for a better gift? If you feel the same, please share your Library story and tell us how CLP has affected your life. To learn about other ways you can remember the Library on this momentous occasion, click here.

–Leigh Anne

*Does this make library workers Stone Temple Pilots?  Hm.


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Andrew Carnegie’s Favorite Day

Photographer: B. L. H. Dabbs, copyright 1896

I can’t speak for the guy, but I’m pretty sure that if he were still around, today would be one of Andrew Carnegie‘s favorite days of the year.

This whole idea of #GivingTuesday?

I think he would have loved it.

(Connecting people with the idea of giving back to one’s community? Been there, done that back in 1895. Got the Library system to prove it.)

If you’re new to this concept, think of these days of the week like children. Giving Tuesday is an angelic, obedient kid as compared to that bratty in-your-face Cyber Monday.

Seriously, though, GivingTuesday is a very good thing. Philanthropy is something we’re in favor of here at the Library and, as it turns out, our collections have a wealth of information for all ages about generosity.

Our youngest readers can learn how to give through the concept of sharing. In our Children’s departments, you can find books and DVDs featuring childhood favorites such as The Berenstain Bears, the Muppets, Pittsburgh’s own Mister Rogers, and many others who cultivate a spirit of giving among children.

Grown-ups can find many resources on this topic, too. Although the majority of our users visit the Nonprofit Resource Center on the second floor of CLP-Main because they’re looking for sources of funding, much more can be found there. If you want to research a nonprofit you’re considering making a donation to (always a good idea, especially this time of year) you can visit CLP-Main to access the Library’s subscription to GuideStar for free.  With Guidestar, you can get information on the programs and finances of nearly 2 million IRS-recognized nonprofits across the United States. It is easy to use and updated each day.

Andrew Carnegie once said,  “My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.”

Those were his very remarks during his presentation of the Carnegie Library to the People of Pittsburgh on November 5, 1895.

Which, y’know, just happened to be on a Tuesday.

~ Melissa F.

Giving Tuesday - CLP

Consider making a gift to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh TODAY during Giving Tuesday!

Your support will help to sustain a variety of library services in our community including early learning support for children.

Click here to give.

This Giving Tuesday, your support can have an even greater impact!
The Jack Buncher Foundation will provide $1 for every $3 the Library raises for operational support, up to $100,000.

For questions about Giving Tuesday or the Jack Buncher Foundation match,
visit our website, call us at 412.622.6276 or email us at donors@carnegielibrary.org.

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Finding Philanthropists in the Stacks

You are a philanthropist.

Yes … you, dear Eleventh Stack reader.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Me? A philanthropist? Because let’s face it: when we think of philanthropists, we usually think of someone like …well, our good friend Andrew Carnegie.

But here’s the thing.

When it comes down to it, philanthropy is simply the practice of performing charitable or benevolent actions. I like this explanation because it gets right to the heart of the matter: making great things happen with our time, talent, or treasure for the benefit and betterment of others. A philanthropist is simply someone who does this – often.

You’re probably wondering who, exactly, is this person talking to you about philanthropy and charity. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Melissa F., the Library’s new Manager of Grants and Research (and the newest volunteer blogger for Eleventh Stack). It’s serendipitous that my first post in this space happens to fall on National Philanthropy Day because since I’ve become part of the CLP staff (I work at CLP-Main), I’ve been amazed at just how many people care so deeply and passionately (and in so many ways!) about our Library and its future.

In our collections, there is a wealth of information about generosity and philanthropists. Examples of giving back start with the concept of sharing, and children can learn from their friends the Berenstain Bears, the Muppets, Pittsburgh’s own Mister Rogers, and more.  Our children, teen, and adult collections include many books, DVDs, and other materials on cultivating a spirit of giving.

On the second floor of CLP-Main, The Foundation Center is a fantastic resource. In addition to being able to access the Center’s extensive databases, there is a library of books pertaining to all aspects of the nonprofit world. I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that, before becoming a CLP staff member, I didn’t realize that The Foundation Center’s books actually circulated. Now, I’m quickly becoming a regular on the second floor.

Along with today being National Philanthropy Day, today marks one month since I’ve been working here at CLP-Main.  A brief time, to be sure, but I’ve already seen countless examples of philanthropy at work.

When you’re walking in the footsteps of a pretty impressive founder, that’s awe-inspiring.

“My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.” ~ Andrew Carnegie, Presentation of the Carnegie Library to the People of Pittsburgh, November 5, 1895.

Happy Philanthropy Day to you, Andrew. 

And to you, too.

–Melissa F.

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Match Game

Some of the feedback we’ve received so far from the strategic planning process is news that warms the cockles of our hearts: Pittsburghers want us to keep them informed on how they can donate to the library. It’s really encouraging for all of us to know that you want to support our civic work, so we’re resolved to make it as easy as possible for you.

Created by Amy, from an original photo by Frank E. Bingaman

All through the merry month of May, for example, you can maximize your support of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh by making a donation to the Perfect Match campaign. Although this promotion does not, alas, feature the wit and whimsy of the late Charles Nelson Reilly, it does give you the opportunity to help the library in a way that’s double the fun: all gifts made by May 31, 2012 will be MATCHED by the library’s Board of Trustees and a committed group of leadership supporters, making this opportunity the best game in town if you want to make your contribution go as far as possible.

Ready to play?  You have options!

  • To make a gift by mail, print out the gift form and send it back to:

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

4400 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Visit the official Perfect Match campaign page to read the fine print, and thank you in advance for your support–past, present, and future–of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Because helping us engage our community in literacy and learning is like playing a game where everybody wins.

–Leigh Anne

*While tickets last! These events tend to sell out, so why are you still reading this?


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Congratulations Green Bay

I learned my work ethic in a family-owned sweater factory; tolerable in the winter, miserable in the summer.  All 5 of us kids worked there at some stage in our lives.  The mantra imparted to us was:  “Do your job, and do it with a smile.”

With that in mind we complete our obligation to our fellow librarians at the Milwaukee Public Library – Andrew Carnegie, the Paterfamilias  in the Green & Yellow.  We had full faith in the Black  & Gold, but came up a little short this time.   The Packers played a great game and absolutely deserved the win.  Let it not be said that we aren’t good for our debts, and that our colleagues by the Lake consider our wager to be fulfilled.

Leave a comment on today’s post for a chance at today’s prize in the 29 Gifts giveaway.  Daily winners will be contacted by e-mail.

– Richard


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Pittsburgh is the City of Organ Recitals

One hundred years ago in November 1909, the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland presented its 1000th free organ recital.  Yes, that’s the correct number of zeroes.  Starting in 1895, when the library and the music hall were built, a series of organ recitals was begun.  By 1909, they had reached one thousand.

From November 6, 1895 to June 30, 1901, Frederic Archer (1838-1901) gave a whopping 451 organ recitals or lectures.  His successor Edwin Lemare gave 170, from March 1, 1902 to January 24, 1905.  Then, starting on October 5, 1907, Charles Heinroth gave 164, including the 1000th on November 13, 1909.  The rest of the thousand were presented by guest organists.

It sounds like some sort of stunt for the record books, but really it was and still is just part of Pittsburgh’s musical life.

For instance, on February 11, 1890, a series of organ recitals was begun in the city of Allegheny (now Pittsburgh’s North Side) at their Carnegie Music Hall.  They reached their 1000th recital on February 8, 1914, their 2000th on January 1st, 1939, and their 3000th on May 14, 1967.

Andrew Carnegie built libraries with music halls.  Then he gave them organs.  According to a May 1967 article in American Organist, the organ in the North Side Carnegie Music Hall was one of  “more than 7,000 organs given by Andrew Carnegie (in whole or in part) to a variety of religious, educational and civic institutions all over the world.”

Frederic Archer posing sometime between 1895 and 1901 with the Carnegie Music Hall (Oakland) organ built to his specifications.

Today, even though there are no longer functioning organs in the Oakland or North Side Carnegie music halls, Pittsburgh has plenty of renowned church organs being played by top-notch organists.  You can find them through the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and their Organ Artists Series.

Next year, the eyes of the organ world will be on Pittsburgh as the Organ Historical Society National Convention will be here from June 21-26, 2010.

And, always, the library has lots of organ resources, both historical and current, for your research, exploration or performances.

— Tim


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