Can’t get to the library? Carnegie Connect brings the library to you

Written by Walker Evans

For me, so much of the pleasure and satisfaction of working in a place like the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall comes from seeing people using our building.

Whether it’s a young parent bringing a baby to their first storytime, an English language-learner exploring new vocabulary, or simply a neighbor looking for a welcoming place to read, our patrons are the reason for our existence. There’s no public library without the public.

But as much as I enjoy the sight of a library filled with people, it can be all too easy to forget that there are plenty of people living in Carnegie who we don’t see here.

We’ve always embraced our unique location, sometimes referring to our building as “the beacon on the hill” — but that steep hillside does represent a barrier for many. People who don’t have access to a vehicle, folks who are homebound or infirm, people with a disability that makes mobility difficult: these are all groups that we care about serving, especially if they can’t get to our physical location.

How best to meet the needs of these groups? Well, this situation is not unique to Carnegie … and as it happens, I managed a small homebound delivery service at my previous library job in Upper St Clair. It was such a positive experience for me. I got to know the community much better, I had the satisfaction of connecting with a population that truly needed service, and I thoroughly enjoyed the people I got to meet.

Surely a similar program could work in Carnegie. With the expert help of library volunteer Julie Murphy, we started planning.

Introducing Carnegie Connect!

This brand-new service from the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall offers free door-to-door delivery and pickup of library materials to your home. Qualified patrons simply request the books, audiobooks or DVDs that they want by phone or online.

When the requested items are ready, our dedicated staff of volunteers coordinate a drop-off time and bring the items right to your door. When you’re all done, just give us another call and we’ll send a volunteer to pick up your returns.

Anyone who lives in the 15106 ZIP code and can attest that they have significant difficulty getting to the library can participate in this program. For the time being, participants can request up to 10 items each month.

You can apply via our website at or call us at 412-276-3456 to request an application by mail. We’ll ask you a little bit about your reading interests and how you plan to request items from us.

You can even request to have a friend or neighbor deliver your materials, rather than one of our volunteers, if you wish. Our goal is to make the process as smooth and simple for you as possible.

Library materials such as books and DVDs can provide opportunities for learning, enrich the mind, stimulate the imagination and provide a link to the outside world for someone who experiences isolation at home.

At the Carnegie Carnegie, our mission is to build community, and we think of our community holistically. We don’t want to let anyone fall through the cracks.

Proactively reaching out to people who lack mobility with Carnegie Connect is one way that we attempt to fulfill this mission: by creating threads of connection, we contribute to a stronger fabric of community in Carnegie.

I hope you’ll consider taking advantage of this service if it would benefit you or someone you know. We’d love to hear from you!

Walker Evans is the library director at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.

Published on February 23, 2024 by TribLive.