List of Carnegie libraries in Pennsylvania

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The following list of Carnegie libraries in Pennsylvania provides detailed information on United States Carnegie libraries in Pennsylvania, where 59 public libraries were built from 27 grants (totaling $5,169,587) awarded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1886 to 1917. Notably, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania contains the first Carnegie libraries ever donated by the philanthropist, owing to his personal connection to the Pittsburgh area. Architectural Critic Patricia Lowry calls them "Pittsburgh's most significant cultural export".[1]

Five out of the first seven, six of the first ten, and seven of the first twelve libraries that Carnegie commissioned in America are in Allegheny County. Also, eleven of the first fourteen Carnegie funded libraries to open in America were in Allegheny County. In all, 19 libraries were commissioned in the county and several of them are more than just libraries but are cultural centers as well.

Also among the libraries built were 25 in Philadelphia which are listed separately. In addition to public libraries, academic libraries were built for 9 institutions, more than any other state. These grants totaled $441,000. In addition Carnegie founded two entire colleges in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute of Technology and Margaret Morrison College for Women. Both are today part of Carnegie Mellon University.

Key[edit]

      Building still operating as a library
      Building standing, but now serving another purpose
      Building no longer standing
      Building listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Public libraries[edit]

Library Locality Image Date
granted
[2]
Grant
amount
[2][3]
Location Notes
1 Allegheny North Side of Pittsburgh, formerly known as Allegheny Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny.jpg 1886 $481,012 6 Allegheny Square East The first Carnegie Library in the USA to be commissioned and the second to open. Dedicated by Carnegie and U.S. President Benjamin Harrison on February 20, 1890. Also houses the first Carnegie Music Hall in the USA, which is now used by the Hazlett Theater.
2 Beaver Falls Beaver Falls, Beaver County Carnegie Free Library in Beaver Falls.jpg Aug 15, 1899 $50,000 1301 7th Ave. The 20th Carnegie Library in the U.S. to be commissioned.
3 Braddock Braddock CarnegieFreeLibraryofBraddock.jpg 1887 $357,782 419 Library St.
40°24′07″N 79°51′56″W / 40.401869°N 79.865425°W / 40.401869; -79.865425 (Public Library, Braddock, PA)
The first Carnegie Library in the USA to open and the second to be commissioned. Dedicated by Carnegie and U.S. President Benjamin Harrison on March 30, 1889. Originally, it was not a publicly supported library but was fully funded by the Carnegie Steel Co. and governed by its officials. The first of four such libraries in the USA to be fully endowed. An 1893 expansion doubled the size of the building and includes the third Carnegie Music Hall in the USA, a Gymnasium, and a swimming pool (currently out of use).
4 Bradford Bradford, McKean County Free to the Public Jan 19, 1900 $40,000 27 Congress St. Now a restaurant
5 Butler Butler, Butler County May 3, 1917 $37,000 218 N. McKean St. The last library commissioned by Carnegie in Pennsylvania and among the last in the entire country. Opened 1921; renovated 1966 and 2003
6 Carnegie Carnegie AndrewCarnegieFreeLibrary.jpg Apr 26, 1898 $310,000 300 Beechwood Ave. The seventh Carnegie Library in the USA commissioned and the third to be fully endowed. Opened May 1, 1901. Official name: Andrew Carnegie Free Library. Of the 2,509 libraries built by Andrew Carnegie, it was the only public library granted permission to use both his first and last names. In addition to the library, it includes a 788-seat Music Hall, 140-seat Lecture Hall, Civil War Museum, and a small in-town park.[4]
7 Connellsville Connellsville, Fayette County Carnegie Free Library Connellsville Pennsylvania.jpg Apr 22, 1899 $75,000 299 S. Pittsburgh St. The 13th library in the USA to receive a grant.
8 Corry Corry, Erie County Nov 9, 1916 $15,000 203 N. Center St. Now a restaurant
9 Duquesne Duquesne Jan 23, 1901 $310,000 The fourth and final library to be fully endowed. Carnegie had a Steel Mill here. Demolished in June 1968
10 Easton Easton, Northampton County Easton Area Public Library in Easton PA.jpg Jul 4, 1901 $57,500 515 Church St.
11 Edgewood Edgewood May 8, 1914 $12,500 1 Pennwood Ave. C.C. Mellor Memorial Library, opened September 1, 1916. Named for Charles C. Mellor, one of the original trustees, appointed by Andrew Carnegie, of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
12 Hamburg Hamburg, Berks County Hamburg PA library 1907.jpg Feb 20, 1903 $10,000 35 N. 3rd St.
13 Homestead Munhall CarnegieLibraryofHomestead.jpg Nov 27, 1896 $322,067 510 E. 10th Ave. The sixth Carnegie Library in the USA to be commissioned and the second to be fully endowed. It was the 7th to open -- the Lawrenceville branch of Pittsburgh, commissioned at the same time as it's main branch, opened 6 months earlier. Also contains a Carnegie Music Hall, a lecture hall, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and a bowling alley.
14 Johnstown Johnstown, Cambria County Johnstown Flood Museum (11718055843).jpg Mar 9, 1890 $55,332 304 Washington St. The fourth Carnegie Library commissioned in the USA and the first outside of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Now the Johnstown Flood Museum.
15 Mansfield Mansfield, Tioga County Mar 29, 1911 $5,000 71 N. Main St.
16 McKeesport McKeesport CarnegieFreeLibraryofMckeesport.jpg Apr 2, 1899 $50,000 1507 Library Ave. The 12th library in the USA to receive a grant.
17 Midland Midland, Beaver County May 8, 1914 $20,000 61 9th St.
18 North Bessemer Penn Hills May 1, 1901 $20,600 Demolished in the 1950s
19 Oakmont Oakmont Jan 24, 1899 $25,000 700 Allegheny River Blvd. The tenth library in the USA to receive a grant.
20 Oil City Oil City, Venango County Oil City Carnegie Library.jpg Apr 12, 1900 $44,000 2 Central Ave.
21 Phoenixville Phoenixville, Chester County Phoenixville public library.jpg Mar 9, 1901 $20,000 183 2nd Ave.
22 Pittsburgh Main Pittsburgh Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh 1.jpg Feb 6, 1890 $1,160,614[5] 4400 Forbes Ave. The third Carnegie Library commissioned in the USA and the first to have multiple branches. Main library dedicated November 5, 1895, at which time Carnegie announced an additional gift to enlarge the building. The mammoth structure in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh contains the Main Library, Carnegie Music Hall (the fourth to open in the USA), Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and Carnegie Museum of Art.
23 Pittsburgh East Liberty Pittsburgh Feb 6, 1890 Opened 1905, demolished in the 1960s
24 Pittsburgh Hazelwood Pittsburgh HazelwoodCarnegieLibraryofPittsburgh.jpg Feb 6, 1890 4748 Monongahela St. Open 1900–2004
25 Pittsburgh Homewood Pittsburgh HomewoodCarnegieLibraryofPittsburgh.jpg  ? $160,500 [6] 7101 Hamilton Ave. Opened in 1910, this library was not part of Carnegie's original grant to Pittsburgh but rather part of a later gift. It was the last library Carnegie built in the city of Pittsburgh and is much bigger than a typical branch building. It was the library featured in episodes of the PBS show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Includes 300 seat auditorium. Renovated 2004.
26 Pittsburgh Lawrenceville Pittsburgh CarnegieLibaryLawrencevillePHLF.jpg Feb 6, 1890 279 Fisk St. Opened May 10, 1898. The 6th Carnegie Library to open in the USA, it was the first 'self-service' library using an open-stacks policy. It was planned so one librarian could oversee the entire operation with a circulation desk flanked by turnstiles that admitted readers to the open stacks one at a time. Also the first library to have a room for children. The reading rooms were separated by walls that became glass partitions above waist level -- under the watchful eye of the librarian. [7][8]
27 Pittsburgh Mount Washington Pittsburgh CarnegieLibraryofPittsburgh,MountWashington.JPG Feb 6, 1890 315 Grandview Ave. Opened 1900
28 Pittsburgh South Side Pittsburgh SouthSideCarnegieLibraryPittsburgh.jpg Feb 6, 1890 2205 E. Carson St. Opened 1908
29 Pittsburgh West End Pittsburgh WestEndCarnegieLibraryofPittsburgh.jpg Feb 6, 1890 47 Wabash St. Opened January 31, 1899. The eighth Carnegie funded library to open in America. It was Carnegie's second library (after Lawrenceville branch) to have open shelves for patrons and second neighborhood branch -- which he scaled down considerably from the huge structures built as central libraries and cultural centers such as Braddock, Allegheny, Homestead, and Pittsburgh Main Branch.
30 Pittsburgh Wylie Avenue Pittsburgh Feb 6, 1890 1911 Wylie Ave. Open 1899–1982, now a mosque
31 Pottsville Pottsville, Schuylkill County Jan 28, 1916 $45,000 215 W. Market St.
32 Reading Reading, Berks County Apr 16, 1910 $111,180 100 S. 5th St. Dedicated May 15, 1913
33 Ridley Park Ridley Park, Delaware County Jun 24, 1911 $10,000 107 E. Ward St. Dedicated July 4, 1912
34 Swissvale Boro Swissvale Nov 17, 1914 $25,000 1800 Monongahela Ave.

Academic libraries[edit]

Institution Locality Image Date
granted
[9]
Grant
amount
[9]
Location Notes
1 Bucknell University Lewisburg, Union County Mar 10, 1904 $30,000 Now houses the history department
2 College of Physicians Philadelphia College of Physicians 1.JPG Mar 4, 1903 $100,000 19 S. 22nd St.
39°57′12″N 75°10′36″W / 39.953333°N 75.176667°W / 39.953333; -75.176667 (College of Physicians of Philadelphia)
3 Grove City College Grove City, Mercer County Apr 28, 1900 $32,000 Now the alumni center
4 Institute for Colored Youth Cheyney 1909 Cheyney Library.JPG Jul 12, 1905 $10,000
5 Juniata College Huntingdon, Huntingdon County Mar 15, 1905 $28,000 Now an art museum
6 Lebanon Valley College Annville Feb 5, 1904 $20,000 Now the admissions office
7 Pennsylvania State College State College CarnegieBuildingPennStateUniversity.jpg Jun 26, 1902 $150,000 Now the College of Communications
8 Perkiomen Seminary Pennsburg Carnegie Library of The Perkiomen School Apr 24, 1906
Jan 2, 1913
$6,000
$15,000
9 Swarthmore College Swarthmore Feb 2, 1906 $50,000 Open 1907–1967, burned September 16, 1983

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Patricia Lowry; http://old.post-gazette.com/ae/20030302carnegie2.asp
  2. ^ a b At various times, Bobinski and Jones disagree on these numbers. In these cases, Jones' numbers have been used due to both a more recent publication date and a more detailed gazetteer of branch libraries, which are often where the discrepancies occur.
  3. ^ Grants for multiple libraries (Pittsburgh) are listed only by their total amount, not broken down for each branch.
  4. ^ http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/nr-trustcenten2.htm
  5. ^ Includes cost of central library, which is a part of the Carnegie Institute.
  6. ^ http://www.clpgh.org/locations/homewood/virtualtour/factoids.html
  7. ^ Patricia Lowry; http://old.post-gazette.com/ae/20030302carnegie2.asp
  8. ^ Margaret Henderson Floyd; "Architecture After Richardson"; 1994
  9. ^ a b Miller, pp. 38–40

References[edit]

  • Anderson, Florence (1963). Carnegie Corporation Library Program 1911–1961. New York: Carnegie Corporation. OCLC 1282382. 
  • Bobinski, George S. (1969). Carnegie Libraries: Their History and Impact on American Public Library Development. Chicago: American Library Association. ISBN 0-8389-0022-4. 
  • Jones, Theodore (1997). Carnegie Libraries Across America. New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-14422-3. 
  • Miller, Durand R. (1943). Carnegie Grants for Library Buildings, 1890–1917. New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York. OCLC 2603611. 

Note: The above references, while all authoritative, are not entirely mutually consistent. Some details of this list may have been drawn from one of the references without support from the others. Reader discretion is advised.