Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Library LOVE

I'm swoonin', folks. Over my husband and his quirky charms, yes of course, but there is a new love in my life and it was definitely at first sight. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has stolen a little piece of my heart.

It took me a bit of time before I finally ventured a visit to the Carnegie Library (the main branch in Oakland). I mean, a library is a library, right? Each contains its varied selection of books, people and free public programs. How different could it be from the others? Well. The CLP has put me in my place.

This place is beautiful, and I mean beautiful. The architecture just blows me away. I'm no art history buff so I don't know the correct terminology for these things, but the walls are covered with paintings and carvings complete with those leaves and scrolls at the top. There are the old school card catalogs in the little drawers, too! It's all just so pretty.

It's not just the aesthetic beauty of the building. There are so many great aspects... There is sustenance, for those days you find yourself holed up for hours on end. The coffee shop on the first floor, Crazy Mocha, sells decent coffee and delish paninis. Good food and drink always wins points with me.

And the collection? Forget about it. Huge. There are books, electronic media, magazines, encyclopedias and more, available here that I would only dream of finding back in FoCo (and even the Denver Public Library). I literally squealed with delight upon discovering their dance DVD collection. This won my allegiance over the coffee and snacks - and that's saying a lot!

I'm rather impressed by the programming. There are well-established youth and teen programs and each age set gets their own designated corner of the building. It was pretty awesome to see the numbers of teenagers roll up in here after school let out this afternoon. The library's investment in youth is significant and says a lot about the institution. Adults from the community get their fair share, too. Free classes and workshops abound, ranging from computer instruction, foreign language discussion groups, exercise programs for seniors, and job and career assistance. I'm taking advantage of some of these opportunities myself. I'm signed up for a handful beginning next week.

I had to buy a bag the first time I visited so I could lug home all that I checked out!

Don't get me wrong. The libraries I frequented back in Colorado were not bad. They were lovely little places and I found what I wanted or needed most of the time. But none of those libraries had me at hello like the CLP.

The lovely trees along the walkway
The moral of the story? The Carnegie Library is the bomb dot com. If you have never visited, not even once, you need to change that pronto and make your way to Oakland. It just might charm you like it did me. 

Are you a bibliophile, too? What's your favorite part of your favorite library? Or have you not visited in awhile? GO show your local library a little love!

All photos taken by me. Thank you to Suzanne Thinnes @ the CLP for granting me permission to post the pics online.


  1. Welcome to Pittsburgh! I love our library. Coincidentally, my wife and I are just about to renew our Donor Plus Card:

    We enjoy not only the books and music and videos that we can check out, but also the many special events, especially the Sunday afternoon hour-long musical performances.

  2. Saw your earlier post about finding out about your Dad's side of the family. CLP has a great section of materials - city directories, census records, old newspapers on microfilm - that can help you with that. The genealogical materials are located on the 3rd floor and there are librarians who can get you started - go check it out!

  3. Franklin, my husband and I will have to check out those musical performances. And Chris, thanks for the info - what a fun project this will be :)

    Thanks for your comments, guys!

  4. This puts my town's library to shame!

  5. Same, for the libraries back home in CO, ha! ;)

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