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Final major push for 'Carnegie Carnegie' fundraising

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall located on the hill overlooking the town of Carnegie was opened in 1901. The Library & Music Hall was Andrew Carnegie’s legacy gift to the town that incorporated to take his name in 1894. It is one of five Carnegie libraries of the 2,500 built worldwide that received an endowment.

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is on a deadline of June 9 to raise $50,000 to complete the Carnegie Carnegie project.

This fundraiser began May 5, and 78 donors have contributed $20,606 as of May 17, according to Executive Director Maggie Forbes.

Gifts range from $5 to $4,000.

“No gift too small, no gift too large,” Forbes said.

In December 2021 the organization won a $1.25 million state grant for “Completing the Carnegie Carnegie” and since then the library-music hall has raised more than $3.4 million from foundations, other state grants, and community donations.

“We’re in the last onerous lap of this,” Forbes said.

Donations will be used to upgrade the Music Hall by replacing knob and tube wiring, a sprinkler system as well as other safety improvements to bring things up to code; air conditioning; a new stage floor and house lighting; aligning the hall’s sound system and theatrical lighting with professional industry standards; to restore peeling plaster and paint.

“We can’t even use the music hall in the summertime, it gets too hot,” Forbes said.

The capital campaign began in 2004 and has gone on to raise more than $15 million to save the music hall and make other local improvements.

Library Park opened in April 2022. It connects the library and music hall to Main Street below via a walkway lined with benches and after-dusk illumination.

The gym is now known as The Studio. Recent upgrades include a new entrance, new theatrical and house lighting and acoustic treatments.

The studio serves as an alternative performance space with a club vibe; a venue for art shows, symposia, job fairs, training and poetry readings. It is an increasingly popular place for private events.

A 900-square-foot partial floor between the library and studio levels was renovated to become the mezzanine in January 2023.

To make a donation with a check, send to the following: Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Ave., Carnegie, PA 15106.


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