Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Homestead Library/Community Center Updated for the 21st Century

Rebirth in Homestead: the Carnegie Library.  Old building given new life as multipurpose facility for a reinvigorated community. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/1/2011)

Excerpt:  At a time when nonprofits and other "community benefit" organizations are reeling from cuts in public funding, the Homestead library is a textbook example of social enterprise and reinvention, experts say, using revenue from the music hall and its fitness club memberships to stay viable. The library's core mission has been preserved, and then some: you can check out a book or use a computer, take a Spinning class, have a cup of coffee or see a show.

There's more to come: a swimming pool in the basement -- the longest continually operating heated pool in Western Pennsylvania, complete with marble columns reminiscent of ancient Rome -- will be renovated, as will an old bowling alley, which may become an indoor baseball training facility.

"They've captured the spirit of the original Andrew Carnegie vision for libraries in building and renovating what he originally saw as a community center with multifunction outreach, updated for the 21st century," said Marilyn Jenkins, executive director for the Allegheny County Library Association, which comprises 45 libraries -- including the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which isn't affiliated with Homestead.

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