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Our History, Your Impact

You are a history maker. Thank you for being part of a tradition of giving that is 125 years strong. From children giggling with joy and delight at a storytime to the relieved sigh of a job-seeker submitting and application, your support helps people of all ages.

On November 5, 1895, the Carnegie Institute and the Main Branch of the Library was dedicated to the people of Pittsburgh. Since that time, whatever the divide, the Library has been a bridge, helping people learn, grow and connect with others to transform their lives. This year, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is celebrating 125 years of engaging, informing and empowering individuals and the whole community.

Guided by our mission of literacy and learning and our community’s vision for the future, the Library has become THE place for information, technology, community dialogue, social connection and enjoyment.

Thank you for being a part of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s history.

Since 1895, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has introduced a number of innovations (free borrowing for everyone) and once-unusual services (a Children’s Department and a children’s story hour) that are now standard in the library world. The Library is continually responding to the needs of the community, providing hands-on, interactive learning opportunities for work, life and educational goals.

Because of you, in addition to the physical and digital materials found at the Library, CLP staff can provide everything from meaningful guidance for small businesses, career and resume help for individuals, a diverse collection of music resources, Welcome Centers for immigrants and refugees and so much more.

Thank you for enabling the Library to continually evolve to meet the changing needs of our community.

Through the 1910s, volunteers were essential to providing children in all city neighborhoods with access to books. Willing families housed cabinets of library books in their homes and welcomed neighbors to meet there. A visiting library volunteer read stories aloud and exchanged the books.

More than a century later, because of your support, libraries connect virtually with children, teens and their families facilitating storytimes, Kids Club activities and Teen Time programs at home.

Thank you for fostering the love of reading in our youngest patrons.

In 1952, Pittsburgh’s first bookmobile, a gift of the Wherrett Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, began operations and lent 83,075 books during its first full year. The bookmobile eliminated barriers that impeded access by bringing books to the patron.

Today, library patrons can connect and discover anytime and anywhere through CLP’s eResources. Thanks to you, library cardholders can browse CLP’s eResource collections to stream and download, eAudiobooks, eBooks, magazines, TV shows, comics, music and online learning services on a computer or mobile device.

Thank you for helping people access our vast reading collections in a multitude of ways.

Through your support, you are helping people learn, grow and transform their lives.

Visit to learn more about Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s history and see a timeline, archives and more then and now photos.

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