Monday, November 7, 2011

This Republic of Letters: Touring the Carnegie Library, Vol. 1

Tomorrow, November 8, is election day in Pittsburgh. One of the most important things you can vote for is a referendum question to support the Carnegie Library. From the Carnegie Library website:

If approved by a majority of voters, the measure would provide for a 0.25 mill special tax on all taxable real estate in the City of Pittsburgh to be allocated and used only for the maintenance and operation of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

This is the equivalent of $25 per year or $2.09 per month on $100,000 of assessed value.

If passed, this referendum will help provide Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh with the diverse and sustainable funding it needs to continue to be strong and provide critical services for the community including early learning programs for children and families, job search assistance and computer and Internet access.

Today and tomorrow I'll be taking you on an insider's tour through the Carnegie Library's main branch in Oakland. My good friend Corey is a librarian there, and he took me around the library to point out some things that you might not notice just casually observing.

These books above are not just colorful and pretty, but they are also still shelved using the Dewey Decimal System. The rest, and majority, of the library departments shelve using the Library of Congress numbers now, but these books remain, you just need a librarian to help get them for you.
Only in Pittsburgh would dinosaurs be a sight to see in the library. From the stacks, you can see the Carnegie Museum's dinosaur exhibit. You can also sit on a bench by this window and read. Hanging out with the dinos all day, getting smart.

The glass floors in the stacks are thick (you won't fall through them!) and they were made from material run-off from the steel mills. Which makes them kinda awesome.

View of the Pitt Quadrangle from high up in the library stacks.

Map of the zip codes throughout Pittsburgh.

The microfiche machines. I don't think I have used one of these ever (or maybe since elementary school). But! They are there if I ever want to give it a try. This room held one of the coolest discoveries Corey introduced me to on this visit:

These cards are actually photos of Pittsburgh way back when. They are categorized by place or event and they are awesome. It's like a time machine, pulling out a card and recognizing the streets or buildings but seeing how it looked so long ago. You can order prints of the photos in various sizes. With the holidays coming up, it's a great gift option for someone who adores Pittsburgh.

If you're up for a challenge: try using the card catalog system - the old school way.

Tomorrow will be more pictures from my tour of the library. Tomorrow is also voting day! Go out and vote!

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