South Side library reopens
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 23:09
After a year of renovations, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-South Side reopened Saturday afternoon.
CLP-South Side held a reopening ceremony Saturday that included a ribbon cutting, a tour of the upgraded facility and belly-dancing lessons taught by Amethyst of Pittsburgh Bellydance.
The renovations cost $2.7 million and are the eleventh completed project in Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Libraries for LIFE capital campaign.
One of the largest renovations is the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system, said CLP-South Side spokeswoman Suzzane Thinnes.
For the first time in its 103-year history, the library will have an air conditioning system. In past years, the facility would often close with little or no notice during the summer because of the heat.
The new geothermal system allows for the cooling of the building during the summer months and eliminates the need of natural gas to heat the building in the winter, Thinnes said.
It is also one of four libraries to have The Labs at CLP, a teen digital media lab learning system. The system is focused on digital media arts and can teach teens anything from photography to creating music and making movies.
“We have blended the historical aspect of the library with new updated technology,” Thinnes said. “The community has waited a very long time to experience these renovations.”
Thinnes said CLP-South Side is one of the city’s first neighborhood libraries of Pittsburgh and has much history to preserve.
South Side resident Peter Kogan agreed.
“The new renovations have been so beautifully done,” Krogan said. “They really listened to the community and preserved the history and character of the library.”
Following community suggestions, the library kept a children’s “nook” that had been a part of the library for many years and is a fond memory for many members of the Friends of CLP-South Side. The Children’s Room houses computers for kids of all ages and a variety of children’s books.
The library also included meeting rooms in its renovations for up to 100 people and a second-floor seminar room which are both available for public use.
Maggie McFalls, community engagement coordinator for Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, said the new renovations make the most out of every square foot.
“I am most excited for the regulars that have been coming here since they were kids,” McFalls said. “This is their childhood library.”
Elevators have also been added to the facility, making all three floors handicap accessible.
CLP-South Side is used by residents in many surrounding communities, besides South Side.
Angela Valerioni, a resident of Brookline, continues to use the library and bring her family to experience her childhood library.
“As a mother of four and a South Side resident for 18 years, it’s nice to spend Saturdays with my kids here and see them physically pick up a book,” Valerioni said. “The library is a perfect and safe place to spend time with my children. It’s back to the basics.”