As a resident of a low-income town on the outskirts of the City of Pittsburgh, a college graduate, and a student currently working on a Masters of English Literature, I cannot even begin to summarize the impact that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has had on me as an individual, or its community.
As a child, I was lucky enough that my mother would take us to the library on a weekly basis. Growing up, I remember having arguments with her about how many books I was allowed to check out. Later, trips by myself are marked specifically by the overwhelming smell of chlorine venting from Homestead Library's pool in the summers and the trees we planted there as Girl Scouts. The summer reading program enthralled me, and impressively, even managed to get my little brother to enjoy reading. (Though that may have been the prizes.) Not only valuable for the access to print, the library became one of the few places we had access to internet (much faster than the AOL dial up we were rocking out at home), and the place where I learned to play chess (and learned how to lose gracefully).
In my teen years I would find myself turning to the library for SAT study guides, assistance with college application letters, as well as a respite from a noisy school and house. The library became a quiet haven to study and to enjoy personal reading time. I distinctly remember my excitement when we learned that the library carried videos and CDs as well. With little money to spend on entertainment, the library allowed me to add (probably illegally, oops) to my music and have access to lectures on tape from various universities.
In college, I would again turn to the library for assistance with standardized testing, this time in the form of the GRE. The hours spent there studying are innumerable. The librarians who proofread and edited my resume, crossing out lines and teaching me the importance of bullet points, were probably bigger life-savers than I will ever truly understand. I am certain that their careful tutoring and keen eyes helped me land my first jobs.
As an adult in graduate school, I find myself needing my library less. As my work moves into specific authors and dense research I now rely on my university library for access to materials. Thankfully, needing and wanting are two very different view points. I may be able to afford those new CD's, or to purchase my own books, I may not have access to the summer reading program, or need help with standardized tests, but my love for the library will always be there. Even with access to two of the best university libraries in town, you will find me, on afternoons, curled up in the Carnegie Library of Oakland's quiet reading room, with a cup of tea (shhh, don't tell the librarians) and my collection of *other* library books spread around me. And, when the final papers are turned in, the tests over, I go running back to *my* library for their familiarity, comfort, and ridiculous collection of books.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is very importent to me ,I feel strongly about the impact that the Library has on the community.