Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees Recognizes Outstanding Library Advocates and Partners of the Year at Annual Public Meeting

Pittsburgh, PA  –   – 

Dutian Zeng, a language volunteer at CLP – Main in Oakland, was named 2016 Advocate of the Year and teens Honesty and Hope LaGrande from East Liberty were named 2016 Teen Advocates of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Rounding out the honors were library partners the Allentown Senior Center, recognized as Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 2016 Outstanding Community Partner and the Jack Buncher Foundation as the 2016 Corporate/Foundation Partner of the Year.

The awardees were honored by the Library’s Board of Trustees during its annual public meeting on March 13. Library staff and members of the community are invited to nominate outstanding and deserving community members who demonstrate a commitment to further library services.

“Each year, the variety of nominations from across the region demonstrates that dedicated residents extend the Library’s ability to reach and engage more and more people in the programs we offer – within our walls and beyond,” said Carol Robinson, Chair, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees. “We congratulate all the nominees and thank those who invest in their neighborhoods and in literacy and learning,” she added.

Dutian Zeng
(photo: Carol Robinson, Chair, Board of Trustees for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Dutian Zeng, 2016 Advocate of the Year, and Mary Frances Cooper, President and Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)

Dutian Zeng’s volunteer work includes coordinating, orienting and supporting the dozens of volunteer teachers who work together to teach three levels of Chinese classes at CLP – Main in Oakland. Last April, along with her friend and former teaching colleague, she organized a children’s booklist exchange between the Library and the children’s center in Wuhan, China. Dutian lives out her belief in libraries as a place “where anyone can come and learn and give back to the community with their own gifts, skills and experiences.”

Honesty and Hope LeGrande
(photo not available)

Before there was even a real teen space at CLP – East Liberty, Honesty and Hope LeGrande were visitors and advocates of the Library. They help plan the branch’s Haunted House – facilitating meetings with other teens, working on its construction and acting on the day of the event. By having Hope and Honesty take such and an important role in the planning of teen programming demonstrates to other teens that leadership and mentoring is not limited to just adults.

Allentown Senior Center
(photo: Carol Robinson, Chair, Board of Trustees for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Cyndie Carioli, Allentown Senior Center Activities Coordinator, and Mary Frances Cooper, President and Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)

The Allentown Senior Center has a strong connection to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and its services. Activities Coordinator Cyndie Carioli organizes and conducts programs that promote healthy living and learning for seniors who reside in Allentown, Knoxville, South Side and surrounding communities. Through collaboration and regular visits from library staff, Cyndie and the staff of the Allentown Senior Center encourage seniors to discover new ways to enrich their lives using programs and resources from the Library.

Jack Buncher Foundation
(photo: Carol Robinson, Chair, Board of Trustees for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Bernita Buncher, Chair, The Jack Buncher Foundation, Karen Emmerich, Grants Manager, The Jack Buncher Foundation, and Mary Frances Cooper, President and Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)

The Jack Buncher Foundation has a long-standing commitment to libraries and has been a leader in helping to strengthen educational services for children, teens and families. In 2016, they were a vital partner in a first of its kind, county-wide initiative called Love Your Library, a joint fundraising campaign between Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Library Association. With generous support from the Jack Buncher Foundation, 46 Allegheny County libraries collectively raised $665,910 during the month-long campaign. Libraries reported that the Love Your Library campaign helped initiate conversations with patrons about the importance of library services and the need to diversify funding streams by increasing private support.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Advocate and Partner of the Year Awards were created as a way for Library board and staff to recognize the outstanding library advocacy efforts of community members and local organizations. Awardees were selected by the Board of Trustees based on their demonstration of their belief in the importance of free and equitable access to information in a democratic society; belief that libraries and librarians are vital to the economic, social and educational fabric of our community; and their ability to act as ambassadors in the community, serving as the eyes and ears of the Library, as well as its voice.

Prior years’ winners include City of Pittsburgh Police Officer David Shifren of Zone 4, the Teen Alternative Homecoming Planning Committee, and Bat’s Barbershop (2015); volunteer Michael Smialek, Carrick teen Emily MacIntyre and The Brashear Association (2014); brothers Nicholas Suarez and Louis Suarez (2013); Karen Derzic, President of the Friends of CLP – Woods Run and Secretary of CLP-Friends Council (2012) and Supporters of the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative (2011).

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh welcomes new volunteers and advocates at all times. For details visit



About Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - To Engage our Community in Literacy and Learning

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is supporting individual achievement and strengthening the power of community. Through the community’s investment, the Library is enhancing the lives of people in the greater Pittsburgh region with dynamic and diverse resources such as creative learning programs for children and teens, job and career assistance for our community's workforce, and free computer and Internet access for all. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh builds community, enables learning, provides access and values people.