We spent much of Saturday and all of Sunday in Pittsburgh, giving us enough time to visit three libraries (plus visit family and attend a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game). After finishing the GAP Trail, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Downton & Business was our first stop. We spoke a bit with the circulation staff and heard about the crazy hills in the city and a race called the Dirty Dozen which includes Canton Avenue (35% grade). We also discovered the amazing array of programming available through the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, including butter making, English skills classes, a support group for runners, and a meet-the-author series. What really touched my heart was the "Library Welcome Center" for new Pittsburgh residents. The center includes resources for ESL, citizenship, and learning about Pittsburgh. This library represented so many of the best attributes of a public library--open and welcoming to all, building community, and providing access to information and resources.
On Sunday, we visited the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Main Library. What an amazing structure! Surrounded by the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History and close to the University of Pittsburgh, the library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We spoke with Rick and Rita in the popular reading section about the history of the library, about the Carnegie Libraries programming, and a bit about cycling. We also went up to the second floor to check out the reading room and the view of the dinosaur exhibit next door in the Natural History Museum.
Due to its close proximity to Pitt, a lot of students use the Main Library, especially during exams. Plus tourists come from the museums, many drawn to the library cafe on the first floor. And the programming! The Main Library advertises even more programs than the Downtown & Business Library, including a cooking club, a puppet show, financial wellness training, and free language classes for English, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian!
And our third library visit was to the Hillman Library on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Great library but we were there to visit The One The Only The Amazing Dan Kaple. Dan worked with us at Appalachian State University but left for Pittsburgh so his wife could begin graduate studies at Pitt. Miss you Dan. Hillman is lucky to have you.