Dear Library: From Michelle

Cheesemaker

Dear Library,

I grew up on the east end of Pittsburgh. On Saturdays, my parents, sister and I often walked to the Wilkinsburg Public Library, a branch of the Braddock Library (which was the first of the local Carnegie Libraries). Housed in the borough’s municipal building, the library had a terrific children’s department. I fondly recall checking out books AND games. In high school, my first paycheck came from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. I spent many Saturdays shelving books in the stacks of the main branch in Oakland, just blocks from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. It was a great job for a high school kid, close to record stores, the bus stop and Pittsburgh landmark eateries like Primanti Bros. and the Original Hot Dog Stand. One of the best things about working there was the doorway connecting the library to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art. A simple flash of one’s ID badge was all the security guard needed to grant entry to the other side. So, I was sad to hear that the doorway was closed several years ago amid security concerns. Apparently Andrew Carnegie intentionally connected the buildings (a library, music hall, art gallery and natural history museum) in the 1890s as a ‘noble quartet’ to provide a well-rounded education for all.

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