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Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to Build New Hill District Facility

Press Contact: Suzanne M. Thinnes
Communications Manager
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
412-688-8609 (fax)
412-491-6889 (cell)

For Immediate Release

(PITTSBURGH, PA - January 9, 2006) Dr. Barbara K. Mistick, Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, announced that a site location for a new freestanding library facility in Pittsburgh's Hill District neighborhood has been recommended for approval by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). The transfer of sale is contingent upon approval by Pittsburgh City Council.

Located on the corner of Centre Avenue and Kirkpatrick Street the new library will be the first facility in Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Capital Improvements Campaign that is a completely new structure. Until a new library is completed, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Hill District/Dinwiddie Street location will continue to serve customers in the Hill District community so that customers will not be displaced during construction.

"We are pleased to have the assistance and expertise of the URA in assembling the site location," stated Mistick. "The new location is situated on a prominent corner that provides great visibility for the Library, access to public transportation and is just a block away from the new McCormick Barron High Rise development. Previous Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh renovations have proved to be models for economic growth as more people rediscover the vitality libraries bring to the community."

"We are thrilled that the Carnegie Library has chosen the Hill District in which to build a new facility," said Urban Redevelopment Authority Director Jerome Dettore. "This is an example of an excellent way to generate economic development in the neighborhood. As families discover the library, additional need is created for retail, housing and local businesses."

A portion of the site holds sentimental value for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The lot sitting on Kirkpatrick Street and Wylie Avenue at one time housed "Eddie's Restaurant," a neighborhood eatery that was a hangout for the late playwright, August Wilson. After dropping out of school at an early age Wilson spent the better part of his childhood reading in the former Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Hill District location on Wylie Avenue. In 1999, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh presented Wilson with the only high school diploma ever bestowed by the Library.

"The new Hill District location connects with August Wilson as someone who served as an advocate for the Carnegie Library," Mistick said. "It was the neighborhood librarians who helped him develop his talents as a writer. His experience is indicative of the critical role libraries play in each community."

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh continues to seek grants and donations for the construction of the new Hill District facility. Although the budget is in the preliminary phase, construction estimates range between $3 million and $3.5 million. In December 2005, the Library received a $50,000 District Improvement

Fund grant (DIF) from the URA for pre-development costs associated with this project. This money will assist with site evaluation and selection, as well as permits, zoning, parking, evaluation, subsurface investigation and foundation demolition.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has chosen architect Robert Pfaffmann of Pfaffmann+Associates PC to design the Hill District facility. Pfaffmann+Associates PC is among a group of firms selected by the Library prior to the start of the Capital Improvements Campaign. The firm's portfolio includes Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Homewood location, the ALCOA Business Service Center, the Pittsburgh Regional History Center and the Fort Duquesne & Sixth Street Garage. Since the Library's Capital Improvements Campaign began in 2001, five neighborhood libraries have either been renovated or relocated. Currently, the Library's Woods Run location is the sixth to undergo extensive renovations.

For the better part of a year, the Library has met with area citizens to determine the needs of the community. Once the site is approved by Pittsburgh City Council the Library will begin a 90 day community process where citizens can provide input of the features of the new facility.

With over 250,000 card holders, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is the most visited regional asset in Allegheny County. The Library has a rich heritage as a leader in early literacy. In 1898 the organization began the first Children's Department in a public library. Since that time, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has served as an incubator for many literacy programs in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, including Beginning with Books and the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council.

About Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: "Free to the People" since 1895
Through its Main Library and network of neighborhood locations, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh serves the dynamic and diverse information needs of people living in Western Pennsylvania. The Library is a vital community anchor that provides universal access to literature, culture, art, music, history, business and technology.