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East Liberty: Serving and Welcoming the Community for 115 Years

As the sixth branch of the original neighborhood locations to open, the East Liberty library has been serving the community since 1905. The branch has been housed in two locations over the years, including the original Station Street and Larimer Avenue building and, later, the South Whitfield Street location off of Penn Avenue. Andrew Carnegie himself attended the grand opening of the branch and the location quickly became a focal point in the community for literary and learning.  

Exterior view of the East Liberty library branch taken circa 1968 after the branch relocated to South Whitfield Street.
The East Liberty library branch pictured on South Whitfield Street after its relocation in 1968. Photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh.

In need of a location closer to the businesses on Penn Avenue, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh moved the branch to its current location on South Whitfield Street which opened in 1968. From that point forward, the community underwent many different revitalization efforts until the late 2000s when the neighborhood began experiencing more long-term commercial success with both larger and local businesses.

Child sits and cries on a fake Santa Claus's lap at the East Liberty library branch circa 1955.
A holiday party hosted at the original East Liberty library location at the corner of Station Street and Larimer Avenue circa 1955. Photo courtesy of the Teenie Harris Archive Collection.

In line with this revitalization, the East Liberty branch underwent a major renovation and reopening in 2010. The building earned LEED-Certified Silver status from its environmentally conscious construction and expanded meeting room space that is popularly utilized by community groups and organizations. While the neighborhood of East Liberty has been criticized in recent years of becoming another victim to gentrification and displacing long-time residents in favor of new commercial real estate, the library has remained a welcoming space to all in the face of major change.  

What are your favorite memories of the East Liberty branch? Share them by emailing us at Also, plan a trip to the branch during the week of October 10 to see how we’re celebrating our 115th anniversary in-person. Call 412.363.8232 for more information.

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