>> Tucked between the historic South Side and the new South Side Works stands one of the city's eight original library branches seeded by industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Built in 1909, it oozes history, character and charm. But the building has seen better days.
Plans are underway to renovate CLP - South Side. Come mid-summer, the Library will get some serious curb appeal and much-needed updates like air conditioning, improved access for the physically challenged, an elevator to all floors - and a user-friendly laptop collection. The renovation work is expected to last 10 to 12 months.
"This renovation is an interesting intersection of a modern 21st century library and a treasured historical building," says Mary Monaghan, Assistant Director, Neighborhood Libraries for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. "It's really exciting to watch this unfold."
The vision for the renovation is to modernize the building while maintaining the architectural character and integrity of the space. Loysen + Kreuthmeier are the project architects.
The Library has encouraged community input, and thus far, two open forums have been held at CLP - South Side. A third is planned for the spring.
Space has always been a precious commodity on the South Side, and the Library is no exception. "Community space was needed for people to meet and gather," explaines Monaghan. The new Library will have a designated children's space, as well as a separate area for teens."
According to Monaghan, the architects are very interested in preserving the distinctive historical features of the building like the original woodwork. The fašade will remain the same, but the staircase will be restored to create more of a civic presence from the street - something that was high on the community's wish list.
Everyone from parents and preservationists to residents and public officials are pleased. "This has been an upbeat, dynamic process," says Monaghan.
This building has long been a priority for renovation due to its accessible location, the neighborhood's status as the third-largest employment center after Downtown and Oakland and its high visitor count and county use.
>> The Library has received generous contributions from UPMC Health Plan and American Eagle Outfitters to support the Library's eleventh capital project. In addition, more than $2.5 million in government grants has been allocated, including monies from the Allegheny County Economic Development Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund, the Commonwealth's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.
>> This building has long been a priority for renovation due to its accessible location, the neighborhood's status as the third-largest employment center after Downtown and Oakland and its high visitor count and county use.
Andrew Carnegie provided the seed money to build the initial Library buildings but did not endow its operation or its ongoing capital maintenance. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh relies on public and private support to fund both capital and operating budgets.
The Library's operating budget provides for day-to-day operating expenses such as books, computers, services, utilities, staff and benefits, while the capital budget provides funding for much needed improvements to the buildings.