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Main (Oakland)

4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15213
412.622.3114
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Building Open Today

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  • Wed.
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Accessibility
  • Fully ADA compliant
  • Two accessible entrances
  • Elevator access to all library floors
  • Designated parking in garage
  • Learn more
Bus Routes

54C, 61A, 61B, 61C, 67A, 67C, 67E, 67F, 67J, 69, 71A, 71B, 71C, 71D, 75, 93

All bus routes are subject to change. Please visit the Port Authority of Allegheny County for up-to-date schedules.

Parking Options
  • Meter
  • Garage
  • Bike
About Main (Oakland)

At CLP – Main, expert librarians are available to answer questions, to provide research guidance and readers’ advisories, and to assist in using popular technology. CLP – Main also offers a variety of free entertainment, training sessions and literature-based programs for all members of the family.

The collection at CLP – Main dates back to 1895. Today, it contains more than 2.5 million items. Readers can select from an array of fiction titles, including new and featured items for casual readers, children’s materials, teen materials graphic novels and World Language materials. CLP – Main is also home to a robust nonfiction collection that features literature, history, sociology, science and technology, government documents and patents, art, an expansive music collection, reference books, standards and specifications, microforms, audiovisual formats, maps and journals.

As the main library for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system, this location also houses several specialized entities:

  • The Library’s Music, Film and Audio Department offers a rich collection of movies, TV series and music in a variety of formats, as well as music books and gadgets, scores, periodicals and special files that cover all aspects of music.
  • The Pennsylvania Department offers local history and genealogy resources. (Please note, as of October 2021 The Pennsylvania Department is currently not open for in-person visits. Two microfilm readers are available in the Reference Department, and visitors can request specific microfilmed newspapers or books to use during their visit. Books and other reference materials may also be requested for use on the second floor.)
  • The Job & Career Education Center provides information and services for individuals in all aspects of job searching, career development, vocational training and higher education. The department also offers access to specialized databases, including the Foundation Directory Online, and programming for the nonprofit community. Additionally, information, services, and programs about starting and running a business are available for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • The Gallery at CLP – Main exhibits local works of art, with new installations every one to two months. If you would like to submit a proposal for the gallery, please call 412-622-3151 or email newandfeatured@carnegielibrary.org.

History of CLP – Main

CLP – Main was Andrew Carnegie’s original library gift to the City of Pittsburgh, and it shared space with the Carnegie Institute’s museum. It was dedicated on November 5, 1895, in the Music Hall by Mr. Carnegie. The building underwent a series of updates to become the space it is today, but it retains its classic charm and much of its original architecture.

The original 1895 twin towers flanking the Music Hall were removed when the building was renovated in 1907, and the Museum was provided with its own independent space facing Forbes Avenue. At that time, CLP – Main’s entry lobby was redesigned to incorporate two side staircases of Tennessee Marble. The original staircase from the Lending Department to the Reference Department was removed. An 11-story book stack was built to replace the original iron stacks, which were situated at the rear of the First Floor Lending Department and the Second Floor Reference Room (each floor had three stacks). An electronic book conveyer system was included in the stacks. A Special Collections Room was designated for rare and unique materials in 1985. Public access to the online catalog (CAROLINE) was provided in 1988, and public access to the internet throughout CLP – Main was provided with the completion of the renovation of the Second Floor in 1995. Most recently, the New and Featured Department and the Teenspace were fully renovated in 2004 to create a one-stop browsing collection for new fiction and nonfiction.

CLP – Main welcomes all ages of readers, researchers and visitors. For help, just ask a librarian.

Located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, CLP – Main serves as the primary, full-service resource for information, and current and historic materials for Pittsburgh.

Learn more about our efforts to envision the role of CLP – Main in a fast-evolving city and region.

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