Completing the Carnegie Carnegie Challenge!

Written by Maggie Forbes

In just five weeks, our community stepped forward to secure a $50,000 challenge grant.

At the sold-out and terrific Pete & Scott & Benny & Joe concert on May 5, we announced that the Library & Music Hall had received a $50,000 challenge grant. Very generous friends of the Library & Music Hall, who wish to remain anonymous, gave a huge boost to getting us across the Completing the Carnegie Carnegie finish line.

Thanks to the generosity of 173 community members, who contributed gifts large and small, we’ve met out goal. Thank You! We are not yet done, but we are so much closer.

Since announcing our $1.25 million state grant for “Completing the Carnegie Carnegie” in December 2021, the ACFL&MH has raised more than $3.5 million – from foundations, from other state grants, and from you, our community. (Accomplishments below.)


Already renowned for its superb acoustics and historic ambiance, the Music Hall is poised to become the region’s finest mid-sized performance venue. Upgrades to bring that about include:

  • replacing knob and tube wiring, a sprinkler system and safety improvements;
  • a new stage floor and house lighting; aligning the Hall’s sound system and theatrical lighting with professional industry standards;
  • restoring water-ravaged plaster and long overdue painting.

Air conditioning will delight audiences and performers alike while finally making the Music Hall a sustainable, year-round venue.


The view from the base of our new stairway. Photo by Bernadette Kazmarski.

Library Park opened to great fanfare in April 2022.  It connects the Library & Music Hall to Main Street below via a walkway lined with benches and after-dusk illumination. Library Park draws people “up and in” to the ACFL&MH, and helps position Carnegie as one of the region’s most attractive destination communities.

Our once waterlogged gym is now 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 — weddings, milestone birthdays and reunions.

A previously unimproved partial floor between the Library and Studio levels became the Mezzanine in January 2023. A compact 900 sq. ft., it dramatically expands Library programming. Tutoring, tax help, teen and senior activities, English as Second Language classes, supervised visits and emerging community partnerships all work better in an intimate setting. The Mezzanine also enhances the Studio as a rental venue. It serves as the green room for performers, and thanks to its kitchen, a much-appreciated staging area for events and parties.


In 2004, our community contributed $500,000 in just ten months to save our grand, impoverished facility and launch the capital campaign that has gone on to raise more than $15,000,000!  Thanks to your support, we have overcome decades of poverty, floods, great recessions, mudslides and pandemics.  We stand stronger — more vibrant and valued than ever. 


The Library & Music Hall turns once again to you — people who love libraries, live performances, history, architecture, green space and the Carnegie Carnegie.  We also welcome foundations and corporations to join us in Completing the Carnegie Carnegie.

Our May to June challenge was the triumphant first hurdle in the final lap of reaching our destination – a fully Restored, Revitalized and Sustainable Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. We are $101,778 closer!

This last leg is a steep one, but the finish line is in sight. Contact Marlee Gallagher at (412) 276-3456, x 8 or with questions about memorial or honor gifts, pledges, ideas or just to check on our progress.