Public reliance upon the Library in time of need was again demonstrated during the early nineteen-forties, this time in relation to national defense. Middle-aged men, long unemployed, and National Youth Administration students stood together at the technology shelves examining elementary books on blueprint reading, welding and the machine trades. On a higher level of endeavor, scientific books, periodicals, and patent files were in constant use by research engineers. So great was the demand for technical literature that funds were diverted from other fields to purchase more books needed by industrial workers.
After a drop in 1935-1937, circulation again topped the four million mark in 1938, but appropriations were still below those of 1929-1931.
This condition led to a radical change in the eligibility of non-residents to free borrowing privileges. From the very beginning of the Library, non-residents who worked or attended school in Pittsburgh were accorded free borrowing privileges, although the Library was maintained by Pittsburgh City taxes. To reduce the pressure on the staff and book collections these privileges were withdrawn in 1940, and an annual non-resident borrower's fee of $3.00 was established. A free "business card," was issued to those firms which owned or rented space in Pittsburgh. These cards could be used by any of the firm's employees, to borrow books on subjects which were related to the firm's business, but not for personal use. Non-residents who owned property in Pittsburgh were given free cards upon presentation of a tax receipt. Use of the reference facilities remained free to all. There were many complaints from suburban borrowers who cited the fact that they spent part of their money in Pittsburgh. The non-resident fee was continued until 1956, when the contract with the County Commissioners brought free services to all county residents. It remained for those living outside the county. It was also hoped that the withdrawal of free services in Pittsburgh would lead to greater interest and support for suburban libraries.
It was in this period of 1938-1940, that limitations were placed on the purchase of fiction. The post-depression period had revealed the enormous demand for informative books of non-fiction, and finances dictated the necessity of reducing the amount spent in purchasing, processing, and administering the circulation of books which had little value except as entertainment. It was therefore decided to purchase no more run-of-mine detective and mystery stories or light romance, but to select only those novels which were important because of their literary merit, or their treatment of historical or social themes. There was complaint from the few readers who had appeared each week with market basket or strap to carry away a supply of light reading. The volume of complaint was greatly reduced, however, because this was the golden age of radio which had become the prevailing medium of entertainment. The Library has ever since directed its energies almost entirely toward educational, vocational, cultural and information services.
With the coming of actual war in 1942, circulation dropped below the three million mark. Following the declaration of A. L. A. that "books are weapons in the war of ideas," the Library south to secure interest in books on all phases of the war. "The Victory Corner" in the Lending Department displayed the best books on the war and the home front. Books relating to the Army, Navy and Air Force were used by young men who faced military service.
The Victory Book Campaign which sought donations of books for military libraries at home and abroad was credited with forwarding more books than any other city except New York.
Brookline and Downtown Branches
This period brought several improvements in facilities and services.
Morris Rosenberg, a Brookline resident and the owner of two store buildings which had been outgrown by the Brookline Branch, offered to erect a new building planned for library use, for lease to the Library. The new building with about 6,000 square feet of space on two floors was opened in December, 1941.
As a W. P. A. project, a light court toward the rear of the Lending Department was utilized to build what is now the James Anderson Room, the space used for registration, the return of books, and the Lending Department's work room. The Lending Department had had no work room, and all registrations and circulation records and routines were centered within the four sides of an enormous desk which occupied much of the front of the room. All "housekeeping" was thus done in full view of the public; it was hardly possible to keep the space neat.
There had been no downtown general lending agency since 1930 when the Business District Branch was moved from the City-County Building to the Union Trust Building where it served business interests only. A new Downtown Branch was opened in September, 1943, at 442 Oliver Avenue, in a street-level storeroom of the Union Trust Building. There was space for only 3,500 selected volumes. There was daily delivery from Central of books requested. Inquirers needing reference services were directed to the Business Branch on the second floor. There were many vacancies in the business area at that time, and the Union Trust Building made a generous concession on the rent.
The Knoxville Branch was forced from its quarters when the Board of Public Education sold the Rochelle School in September, 1943. The Knoxville business area on Brownsville Road had been described as a "commercial slum," but it was the ideal location from which to reach the public. The only store available was completely inadequate, but in the emergency it was rented as a temporary expedient. The "temporary" occupancy lasted for 22 years, until the completion of the Knoxville Branch building in 1965.
The most successful of the library stations in public housing projects was opened in 1943. Glen-Hazel, operated by the Hazelwood Branch, was commodious and open two evenings each week and Saturday mornings. The Wylie Avenue Branch operated a station in the Leo A. Weil school to serve Terrace Village. It was less successful.
The David H. Light Memorial Record Library, sponsored by a group of local musicians in memory of Mr. Light, for many years editor of the Musical Forecast, was started in 1943, to augment the Library's collection. For several years, the room now housing the office of the Poetry Forum was used as a listening room and was popular with army personnel being trained at Pitt and Tech. The phonograph later gave way to individual ear-phones in the Music Division.
The Library's Fiftieth Anniversary was celebrated November 5, 1945 with an "open house" which attracted about 3,000 visitors. Almost every staff member participated in planning displays and demonstrations under the chairmanship of Adaline Bernstein.
Opening of the Public Affairs Room was the principal event of the evening. The best of the new books relating to domestic and international problems were to be displayed here so prominently that even the uninterested reader might be drawn to them. Intercultural relations were also to be emphasized. The Library was again indebted to Mabel Lindsay Gillespie for this room. When she and her mother established the David Lindsay Gillespie Reading Room in 1938, they expressed the wish that they might sometime furnish and endow the corresponding room across the lobby. Mrs. Gillespie died in 1944. The Public Affairs Room will be maintained, in conjunction with the David Lindsay Gillespie Reading Room, by Miss Gillespie as a memorial to her parents.
The Music Hall was filled the next evening for a concert by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
These events, plus downtown window displays and extensive newspaper and radio programs, brought wide publicity to the anniversary.
American Chemical Society
The Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society made a generous contribution to the Science and Technology Department in 1945. The Department had been unable to purchase a fair amount of the scientific and technical literature with its reduced book funds during the depression and war. A fund of $66,695 was raised by the Society and given to the Library to be spent over several years in filling gaps in the collection. The gift was an acknowledgement of the Department's usefulness to local industry, and a tribute to the helpful administration of its head, E. H. McClelland.
The Association of Iron and Steel Engineers also began its periodic gifts of $1,500 to enable the Science and Technology Department to develop a virtually complete collection on iron and steel.
The war years brought many opportunities to all levels of the staff to go to other positions at higher salaries. A few went into the Army or Navy, more became civilian-librarians in Army and Navy Camps here and abroad, and many went to newly established industrial libraries. Clerical assistants and pages became office workers in industry. There was constant turnover; the Reference Department at the end of 1945 had only one professional and one clerical assistant who had been there at the beginning of the year. Vacancies could not be filled, and in some cases the salary budgeted for a vacant position was distributed among others in an effort to hold remaining staff members. Reduced use of the Library during the war made it possible to operate with a smaller staff, but with the return of former readers and the coming of students under the G. I. Bill, the Library was in trouble. To make the most effective use of the staff, all branches except Business and Downtown were closed Monday through Friday mornings, beginning September 1, 1945. So few readers were seriously affected that this limitation has remained in force except at the regional branches.
Twenty-seven men and women left the staff to join the armed services during the war years. Frank Panner, a printer, died from wounds received in action in Europe January 4, 1945.
Coordination of Local Libraries
Efforts toward the coordination of local libraries were begun in 1947 at the request of the presidents of Pitt and Tech. They were first limited to defining areas of major academic interest at Pitt and Tech, and determining which library would be responsible for developing research collections in the various subjects. The librarians of Pitt and Tech held conferences with officials of their institutions to determine fields of major interest. These librarians, with the Director of Carnegie Library, then selected the fields in which each library would purchase research materials. The following broad classifications were made:
(a) Physical sciences, engineering, music:
Carnegie Tech and Carnegie Library.
(b) All other fields: University of Pittsburgh.
The interests of Carnegie Tech and Carnegie Library fall in the same general fields. Coordination of expensive purchases can only be made through frequent consultations by the librarians.
The coordination of local libraries was continued with the addition to the group of the librarians of Duquesne, Chatham, Mt. Mercy, Point Park, and Mellon Institute.
These activities toward cooperation were enlarged and formalized in 1967 with the organization on October 18 of the Pittsburgh Regional Library Center. It is incorporated as a non-profit charitable, scientific, literary and educational organization with membership open to non-profit institutions within 200 miles of Pittsburgh. Charter members are Carnegie Library, Carnegie-Mellon University, Duquesne University, Chatham College, Mellon Institute, Mt. Mercy College, Point Park College, Robert Morris Junior College and the University of Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Chapter of the Special Libraries Association is represented at all meetings of the Board of Trustees. Carnegie Library is represented on the Board by Henry P. Hoffstat Jr., a trustee, and the Director who was also elected as the organization's first president.
The organization received a grant of $13,500 from the A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust in 1966 to enable it to employ a director, Thomas L. Minder, who was experienced in operating computerized information systems. Further grants from private and governmental sources can be accepted, but the main operation is supported by member contributions.
The chief purposes of the Regional Center are:
(1) To improve overall economic efficiency, service effectiveness, and
information-handling capabilities of the libraries of each member
institution, primarily through joint efforts.
(2) To provide facilities and organization needed to help solve the research, administrative and service problems of common interest to the members.
(3) To coordinate the services of the libraries and the Center with larger library and information systems being developed regionally, nationally, and within intellectual disciplines.
New Administrative Positions
Personnel matters had always been handled by the Director and the Executive Secretary, but they could do little more than make appointments, assignments and transfers.
In 1948 Adaline Bernstein whose experience included many years as a general assistant, branch librarian and department head, was appointed to a new position, that of Assistant to the Director with responsibility for personnel administration. Miss Bernstein devised tests for appointment and promotion in the lower grades, orientation and in-service training programs, and with the aid of a staff association committee, devised and improved merit rating card for use with all staff members. Miss Bernstein retired December 31, 1957, and was succeeded by Katherine E. Crumrine.
Another new position, that of Administrative Assistant, was created in 1948 to relieve the Director and Executive Secretary. Mark Crum, Senior assistant at the East Liberty Branch, was the first appointee. Mr. Crum supervised the book stacks and page service and acted as liaison man with the Buildings Department.
The Library lost tow of its most responsible department heads through retirement in 1948: Elwood H. McClelland, Technology Librarian since 1908, and Alice J. McGirr, a reference librarian since 1907, and Head of that department since 1938. Morris Schrero succeeded Mr. McClelland, and upon his death in 1951, Daniel R. Pfoutz, formerly Technology Librarian of the Toledo Public Library, became Head. Martha Barnes, long a member of the Reference staff, became Head of that department.
Microfilming of newspaper files began in 1949 with a special City appropriation of $7,500. It was necessary because of the deterioration of the newsprint and to save storage space.
1949 saw the completion of the 240 mimeographed page Routine Book. Rosemary Isensee and Dorothy Klauss were responsible for the gathering, revising and indexing of all rules and sample forms.