The First Carnegie Library: Braddock Breaks Ground

Representatives of GBBN joined administrators, staff, civic leaders, and members of the community to break ground on the renovation of the Carnegie Library in Braddock, Pennsylvania recently.

Built in 1889, Braddock Carnegie Library was the first of nearly 1,700 libraries that were funded by steel magnate, Andrew Carnegie in the United States. Not just a space for books, it also housed a swimming pool, bathhouse, a music hall, a billiard room, and many additional amenities. After serving the community for decades, it was nearly demolished in the 1970s when it had fallen into disrepair. Fortunately, a dedicated group of Braddock residents saved it, and slowly brought it back to life.

Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, touched on this during his remarks. “This is what makes a community, people come together,” he said, “obviously the building is important but the effort that goes into it to raising the funds and rehabilitating the building, that’s what makes the community.”

GBBN Principal, Mick McNutt agrees. “This is much more than a library, it’s a landmark for the community. Braddock represents the industrial heritage of Pittsburgh,” Mick says. “With Carnegie’s first steel mill and library in the United States, the neighborhood has the ability to impact the region. Once the building is complete, all spaces will be operational including its music hall.”

Learn more about GBBN’s work at Braddock Carnegie Library here. For news coverage of the groundbreaking, visit CBS Pittsburgh or WPXI, or Pittsburgh Business Times.

To learn more about GBBN’s work in community libraries, visit some of our case studies on Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Library of Accessible Media for Pennsylvanians, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Beechview, or Baldwin Burrough Public Library.