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Gibran Biswas, a fourth grade student at Pittsburgh Montessori School, waited patiently inside CLP - East Liberty for his fellow honored guests to conclude their speeches. He had a very important responsibility - one of the biggest in the Library's grand re-opening ceremony - and it was a bit intimidating.

Right on cue, and in rock star fashion, he emerged from the shadows, waving to the cheering crowd who gathered for this historic occasion. With the assistance of Library President and Director Dr. Barbara K. Mistick, Gibran cut the ribbon to officially signal the re-opening of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's newly renovated East Liberty Library.

On August 28, more than 4,600 people joined Gibran at a community celebration sponsored by Fifth Third Bank to celebrate the re-opening of their neighborhood Library. Customers were delighted by the building's design, which includes a 9,000 square feet expansion, which provides space for more than 66,000 circulating items, more computers for public use, wireless technology and community meeting rooms.

Unique features of the building include compact shelving for the Library's Heritage Collection, a 150,000-volume closed-stack collection, which includes rare treasures that embody the heritage of Western Pennsylvania and beyond, as well as a number of green building technologies that will help the Library save more than 35% in future energy costs.

In addition, an enhanced Children's Department creates an inviting and comfortable environment for children and parents."Parents will sit and talk to each other while their kids are playing with puzzles or listening to story hour," Caralee Sommerer, a Children's librarian, said. "It's definitely creating a sense of community spirit." Sommerer added that several children have told her how happy they are to be able to walk to the Library and see the familiar faces of their librarians.

Funded by donations and grants from individuals, corporations, foundations and government, CLP - East Liberty is the tenth project to be completed in the Libraries for LIFE Capital Campaign. The Library's efforts have resulted in significant investment in Pittsburgh neighborhoods.


Going Green

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will apply for certification in Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED™) by the U.S. Green Building Council for its East Liberty library. LEED gives a building a score based upon its environmentally-friendly attributes and looks at a building comprehensively, considering site issues, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials used and indoor environmental quality.

Did you know CLP - East Liberty incorporates a number of green building technologies and practices?

  • The renovated facility is expected to save more than 35% in energy costs over a conventional library building of this size. That is equivalent to more than $10,000 a year saved in energy costs. Think of how many books that could buy!
  • More than 90% of the demolition and construction waste from the project was diverted from landfills to be recycled and reused.
  • Materials used on the project were both sourced and manufactured within a 500 mile radius. This reduced energy consumption from shipping and is healthier for the local economy.
  • As a result of this project, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is implementing a system-wide Green Housekeeping policy ensuring health, safety and environmental responsibility in the way cleaning services are provided.

>> To learn more about LEED and green building, visit the Green Building Alliance ( or the U.S. Green Building Council (