Carnegie Library Main

Hello Life-Long Learners of Pittsburgh,

I love libraries. I love OUR libraries. And just like re-reading a favorite book, we can now go back to the library, as all 19 branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh have returned to full capacity.

My favorite spot in them all (and I admit I haven’t visited every branch) is the third floor of the Main Branch in Oakland, up the steep stairs and through the door at the top landing, into what feels like a secret section of the building. That’s where I wrote my 11th Grade U.S. History paper on African-Americans in the military. I remember which barrel-back wooden chair I was sitting in when I learned that Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of the American Revolutionary War.

As a young boy living in Edgewood, I could walk down to the C.C. Mellor Memorial Library (which is an independent library), with its captivating Mission-style architecture that is so out of place in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Libraries have a wonderful mystery to them, sometimes even a spookiness (“Just like the Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947.”).

I hope each of you have a special memory in one of the great libraries around our city. If not, now that the libraries are open, I encourage you to make one. Maybe think about volunteering to lead book discussions or help tutor. (If you do volunteer or make some other great memory, post a comment on our Facebook page

If you walk into a library and you don’t know where to start, ask a friendly librarian! I feel like there are just a handful of professions where you can be certain that interacting with a person in that field is going to be a wonderful experience—Librarian is one of those select few. I mean, Harold Hill from “The Music Man” would back me up on this.

Oh, and this reminds me I have a book I have to return!



John RhoadesOwner & Publisher

John is an entrepreneur and community activist who took over as owner and publisher of NEXTpittsburgh on January 1. He lives in Polish Hill. He also volunteers for his neighborhood association, enjoys...