Tag Archives: philanthropy

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Your Library. Stronger with you.

The Library is so many things.

It is books, of course. And music and films.

It is every child ready to learn.

It is supporting business innovation.

It is connecting a community of neighbors.

With your kind and caring financial contributions, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is able to support individual achievement and the power of community. Now, your gift can have even more of an impact.

Your gift made to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh between now and December 31, 2014 will be partially matched by the Jack Buncher Foundation, which will provide $1 for every $3 the Library raises for operational support, up to $100,000.

This is your library, and we are stronger with you.

Click here to give today!

Thank you for supporting Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

These Are Days: Support Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on October 3

There’s so much to see and do at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that no two days here are ever alike. A child’s day at the library could be a day of story time, a day of origami, or maybe just a day with that special grown-up, picking out books and movies to share later at home. Teens can choose to have a day of gaming, a day of homework help, or maybe just a day to curl up in a beanbag chair and think for a little while.

Infinite possibilities abound for adults, too: maybe today is the day you’ll start taking steps toward your new career, learn a new language, enjoy a film or concert, brush up on your computer skills. Today could be a day of unwinding after work with a refreshing beverage and a magazine, or the day you start researching your family history. The choices are abundant, and they are yours.

Of course, thanks to the wonders of technology, you can have a day with the library, even if you’re not physically at the library. A day with the library can mean a day of downloading e-books/movies/music/magazines, getting homework help, working on your research paper, learning new technology skills, or reading library blogs, either on your desktop/laptop, or via the library app on your mobile device/tablet.

Tomorrow, Thursday October 3rd, is Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving, hosted by the Pittsburgh Foundation. If you and yours have enjoyed days of literacy and learning at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to support our continued activities in these areas.


Click the image above to learn more, or continue reading below!

This year’s Day of Giving runs from 12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 3rd, 2013. During that time period, any donation of $25 or more to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh via the PittsburghGives website will be partially matched by the Pittsburgh Foundation (to learn the ins and outs of exactly how that works, click here). Your contribution helps us continue to provide:

  • More than 10,000 free programs, classes, and other learning/training opportunities.
  • A collection of more than 5 million items, including books, CDs, movies, digital downloads, and more.
  • Computer-based and wireless internet access in all library locations.
  • Professional librarians and other trained library workers, to help meet your information needs.
  • Meeting spaces for community groups.
  • Homework help for children, teens and adults.
  • An extensive suite of electronic resources that takes you behind the paywall of many academic / professional journals.
  • Resources for job-seekers.
  • Much, much more!

If you have questions about supporting the library on the Day of Giving, contact Charla Irwin-Buncher at 412-622-1873, or by e-mail at buncherc at carnegielibrary dot org (humans only, no spambots please!). Thank you in advance for making our day by making days at (and with) the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh last longer, and go further.

Leigh Anne

with a tip of the hat to 10,000 Maniacs

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We’re Souper, Thanks For Asking!

Looking for something to do next weekend that doesn’t involve pigskin and cleverly-designed attempts to part you from your hard-earned cash? Too depressed by the prospect of a certain sporting event without the hometown heroes in the mix? Interested in supporting your community while enjoying great local music in a warm, comfortable space filled with interesting things to read? You, my literate, music-loving, philanthropic friends, are in luck.

kitty naps while you have fun at the library

Bonus: kitty gets an extra nap while you’re having fun at the library. Image via openphoto.net

On Sunday, February 3rd, Main Library will host the WYEP 13th Annual Alternative Souper Bowl between 12 and 3 p.m. Our friends at the station where the music matters have planned a terrific line-up of performers, including Broken FencesThe Deceptions, and The Billy Price Band. There will even be a special appearance, and performance, by the Pitt Repertory Theatre, and portions of the afternoon will be broadcast live on WYEP.

The really “souper” part about this fun, free event is that you’ll also have the opportunity to make a non-perishable food/sundries donation to HEARTH, a fellow Pittsburgh non-profit that shelters women and children in need.  Suggested donation items include pasta, cereal, juice, personal supplies, and cleaning supplies–click here for a complete list–but why not take a tip from our friends at the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project and make a donation of items that can be easily combined into a meal?

We hope to see you here, foodstuffs in hand, ready to jam. Not quite the invitation you expected from a library? Maybe you should come see us before the event, just to catch up on all the amazing things we’ve been doing since your last visit. We hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

–Leigh Anne


Filed under Uncategorized

Little Free Library

While strolling through the wilds of Regent Square last summer, I discovered what looked like a little birdhouse perched on a well-manicured lawn. But the little house was filled with books, and above the door was a sign that read “Little Free Library.” Although my own neighborhood is located near four wonderful libraries (C.C. Mellor, Swissvale, Wilkinsburg, and Squirrel Hill), the idea of a personal lending library in my front yard sounded like a great idea. And so, with a little amateur carpentry and an armful of books:

photo provided by author

photo provided by author

Little Free Library Charter #3059 is open for business in Edgewood!

You can purchase a library already constructed or download blueprints to build your own. We currently have ours covered with lights for the holiday season, but we have plans for a spring remodel if and when the snow finally melts.

Example of the pre-built Little Red British Phone Booth Library

Example of the pre-built Little Red British Phone Booth Library

Our library has been a wonderful way to clear out our overloaded bookshelves, meet some new neighbors, and pass on the joy of reading. We’ve had some anonymous donations of books and magazines as well, left behind by generous passers-by. I’m happy to report that our biggest “movers” are children’s and young adult books.

The Little Free Library organization has, as part of its mission, a goal to build more than 2,510 libraries around the world–more than Andrew Carnegie–and then even more. Happily, the original goal was reached in 2012 with libraries throughout the United States, Germany, Canada, Ghana, Pakistan, Haiti, Lithuania, and many other countries. Interested? Visit their website for information on how you can become your own library director, or donate a library to an underserved community anywhere in the world.

Read on!!!



Filed under Uncategorized

A Wildly Informal Donor Plus Pledge Drive

When I’m not helping my co-workers save the world with mad research and technology skills, I’m probably at the customer service desk, picking up books I’ve requested.  Much like the star of that classic, oft-ridiculed Hair Club for Men commercial, “I’m also a client.” 

A library client, that is. My hair is doing just fine, thank you. But, I digress!

Sometimes, when I’m waiting in line, people will ask me why my library card has a different design on it.  Eagerly I leap on the opportunity to talk about the Donor Plus card, only to be met with puzzled stares.  Why on earth would anybody pay for a library card?  After all, the library is “free to the people” – it even says so above the front door.  What gives?

For me personally, it was a no-brainer.  According to the Library Use Calculator, I have $750.00 worth of books checked out on my library card right now.  That’s more than twice as much as my monthly student loan payment!  Given that I’m always at the maximum book checkout limit, that means that, at any given time, I’m walking around with $750.00 worth of public property, with almost no strings attached (except for those pesky fines that I inevitably rack up)!  Considering everything I get out of the library, I feel it’s only good civic sense to give a little back.

Granted, I’m pretty fortunate in that the small fee for a Donor Plus card isn’t an unreasonable expense for me.  This is not true of everyone, and it certainly wasn’t true for me when I moved to Pittsburgh twelve years ago.  So I totally understand if the classic free card is more in line with your budget.  If you are in a good financial place right now, though, upping your membership is analogous to buying bonds, or collecting scrap metal:  a small, yet potent, blow in the ongoing War Against Ignorance.

If the “warm and fuzzy” approach doesn’t motivate you, let’s get concrete: check out the Donor Plus page, which lists some pretty spiffy benefits–if you’re a coffee drinker, the card pays for itself in practically no time.  And if that’s still not enough incentive for you, here’s a list of library services you might not be aware of, just to help seal the deal. 

  1. Book recommendations from professional librarians.   Why trust your reading preferences to an impersonal algorithm when you can peruse thoughtful, literate book reviews?  Want something more specific?  Fill out the handy dandy recommendation form to get reading suggestions tailored to your specific tastes!
  2. Playaways.  Quite possibly the coolest invention ever, Playaways are pre-loaded mp3 players you can borrow.  Just add a AAA battery and a pair of headphones, and you’re all set to listen to classic fiction, language lessons, or just about anything else that might tickle your fancy.
  3. A never-ending stream of electronic innovation.  If you haven’t seen the What’s New page yet, click on over and see some of the exciting services the library has rolled out over the past few months.  Subscribe to the RSS feed and get updates as they’re posted!
  4. Access to government information.   As Gwen explained the other day, the Carnegie Library is a Federal Depository Library.  Although the GPO is issuing more and more publications online, there’s a lot of data still in print and on microfilm, and we’ve got it.  Exercise your citizenship to the hilt with some gov docs!

In addition to all of the great materials and services the library offiers you for your Donor Plus buck, you have access to approximately 140 human resources at CLP Main, many of whom work quietly behind the scenes, and are far too modest to tell you about it.   Scott, for example, will never tell you that he’s currently ranked #2 in the state for answering questions on AskHere PA, or that he spends a lot of time repairing and processing damaged books.  Marianne, Bill, Gen, and Mykal are just four of the people who make sure your books and materials are pulled from the shelves, and reshelved properly–and no, they don’t use elfin magic to “get ‘er done.”  And Cathy, bless her, is part of the team that works hard to keep our webpage current and organized.  Add on the many, many people who serve in the branch libraries, and…well…it takes a lot of people to run your library, and your support helps all of those people serve you more efficiently and effectively. 

Okay, Ira Glass I’m not. I hope, however, I’ve at least given you a little something to think about. Maybe we could discuss it next time you’re in the library–after all, intelligent, informed debate is the cornerstone of a democratic society!  Just look for the tall, bleary-eyed woman in black, cradling an armful of books, the one who was clearly up too late last night reading.

Leigh Anne
who would give all the current Donor Plus cardholders a thank-you hug, except that this would be neither prudent nor practical.


Filed under Uncategorized

Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving

Not a day goes by that I don’t fantasize about creating an endowment for the library.  Dressed to the nines, with winning PowerBall ticket in hand, I will call a press conference in the Reference Department.  There, in a speech designed to make the angels weep,  I will finish the job Andrew Carnegie began by declaring my intention to fund the Carnegie Library in perpetuity.  Banners will wave.  People will cheer.  Brian O’Neill will write a wryly laudatory column about the whole affair, and we’ll all live happily ever after.

It’s a lovely daydream.  Of course, for any of that to happen, I would have to start actually buying tickets.  And I totally would, except that, while the deus ex machina approach satisfies my flair for the dramatic, the odds are against my being able to pull that particular rabbit out of my hat.

Luckily, none of us has to save the library all alone.  Everything goes better when we all work together, and some wonderful folks at The Pittsburgh Foundation have created an opportunity for smaller-scale philanthropists like you and me, so we can do just that. 

Tomorrow, October 28, 2009, is the day you can do your part for library funding.  Click here for details, or click on the stunning black-and-gold “PittsburghGives.org” icon in the right-hand sidebar of our blog, to learn more about this special opportunity to help the library.

Think a smaller donation can’t make a difference?  Courtesy of the fine people in the CLP Development Office, here are some examples of the kind of  impact your donation can have:

$25 buys two children’s picture books, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Goodnight Moon. It’s also enough purchasing power for one graphic novel.

$50 allows the library to purchase one non-fiction audio book.

$75 buys three titles for the Bestsellers collection, which includes popular works by authors such as Dan Brown, Patricia Cornwell, and James Patterson.

If you’re in a position to give a little bit more, your dollars can go even further.  Observe:

$100 supplies a puppeteer or storyteller during summer reading.

$150 covers guest speaking fees for a program on job seeking or tax law.

$250 pays for a one-year subscription to The Wall Street Journal, one of our many periodicals.

Now, let’s say you and your friends threw a house party, or had a bake sale, and you’ve pooled a larger amount of resources for the library.  How far will your contribution go?

$500 provides professional staff and literacy materials for a community outreach visit to a local school or child care center.

$1,000 allows the library to hold four multi-session workshops for parents, so they can assist  their children’s early literacy development.

$2,000 pays for approximately one month of access to one of the library’s research databases.

Even if you’re not quite ready to fund the burning need for full-text journal articles just yet, it’s okay:  every little bit helps.  Please consider taking advantage of this special opportunity to help the library on Pittsburgh’s day of giving.  And after you donate, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being part of the team effort to save Pittsburgh’s libraries.

Everyday philanthropy, woo hoo!  Tune in next time when I’ll tell you all about why I have a Donor Plus Card (no, it’s not a job requirement!).

Leigh Anne
aspiring fairy goth-mother


Filed under Uncategorized