When you visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, you will see the name of Carnegie on a lot of buildings: Carnegie-Mellon University, Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History. They are all named after Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy industrialist, who made his fortune in steel in that city. So when he began giving his fortune away to worthy organizations at the turn of the 20th century, Pittsburgh, his adopted home in America, received a grand proportion of his philanthropy.
One of the buildings for which he provided seed money was the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Built in 1895, the building on Forbes Avenue is done in the grand Italian Renaissance style of the time with lots of marble, stone, columns, and large rounded windows.
It’s still impressive today, even after several renovations to keep it up-to-date. The reading room on the second floor, although not as grand as the ones in Boston or New York City, is still a great space with lofty ceilings, painted walls and wood tables for reading. As a bonus, you can look into the dinosaur room of the Carnegie Museum from windows at the back of the reading room.
As Andrew Carnegie said at the dedication of the library on November 5, 1895: “…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. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.”