Carnegie Library's Relationship
to the Carnegie Institute
Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Art Gallery and Museum in 1895 with the idea that the opportunity to access education and culture would improve the life of the working classes in Pittsburgh. In his dedication speech, he stated that his greatest accomplishment would be to have "contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light." The Carnegie Institute was soon composed of the Museum of Art and Natural History Museum. Carnegie considered the museums to be "wise extravagances" that should be financed privately by the wealthy and well to do. He viewed the library much differently.
There remains a persistent myth that Andrew Carnegie left an endowment from which Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is funded. Nothing could be further from the truth. Carnegie declared the library a "public trust" that must be supported entirely by public dollars. "When this library is supported by the community, as Pittsburgh is wisely to support her library, all taint of charity is dispelled. Every citizen of Pittsburgh, even the very humblest, now walks into this, his own library, for the poorest laborer contributes his mite indirectly to its support. The man who enters a library is in the best society this world affords; the good and the great welcome him, surround him, and humbly ask to be allowed to become his servants; and if he himself, from his own earnings, contributes to its support, he is more of a man than before."
Carnegie's financial contribution of $1 million to the Library for construction was made solely on the condition that the City should appropriate funds to maintain the Library.
The governance and funding of the Library and Institute have not changed much from the model Andrew Carnegie developed. Carnegie Institute now includes the Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center and Andy Warhol Museum. These organizations are headed by a President and are governed both by their individual boards and the Institute Board of Trustees. The Museums are funded through private monies.
A Board of Trustees separate from Carnegie Institute governs Carnegie Library. It receives most of its operating support from public funds through the Allegheny Regional Asset District and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Although the Library has a relationship with the Institute for financial and human resources services, it is an independent organization separate from Carnegie Institute.
CLP as a member of the Allegheny County Library Association
CLP is one of 45 member libraries of the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA). ACLA is a nonprofit corporation that exists to promote awareness of the importance of public libraries and improve library service to the residents of Allegheny County. Each member library (in CLP's case-library system) remains an independent entity linked through a cooperative federated library system.
Members strive to provide consistent service to all residents of Allegheny County, while still retaining autonomy over governance, budget and policy-making. ACLA libraries participate in joint programming, including Summer Reading Clubs and library promotions such as Card-A-Rama.
CLP and the eiNetwork
In 1995, ACLA, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and the Commission on the Future of Libraries partnered to develop the Electronic Information Network (eiNetwork). The eiNetwork was launched in 1996 with capital investments from the Foundation community, Allegheny County, and ACLA, establishing a common automation system and catalog for libraries throughout the County. ACLA, CLP and the Allegheny Regional Asset District contribute to eiNetwork's operating budget.
eiNetwork serves as the information technology infrastructure for most of the libraries in Allegheny County, through a high-speed network connecting all libraries and desktop support for close to 2,000 PCs. Through the shared catalog, libraries in Allegheny County are able to participate in an intra-county reserve program that enables customers at all libraries to discover and request materials from other locations and have them delivered to a convenient library.