The NYPL Rose reading room
I love to read, and have a special interest in book, cover and poster illustrations. I used to write many moons ago, but that habit is all but gone, save for scientific writing. Read my article on fireplaces in book illustrations. I have a blog inappropriately used for a walkthrough of "How to Shoot an Amateur Naturalist", by Gerald Durrell.Project Gutenberg is a non-profit organization which is dedicated to building digital copies of all public domain books. Become a volunteer ! Or at the very least, get around to reading that-book-you-would-have-bought-but-you-didnt-knowing-it-was-public-domain. I also maintain a guide to Pittsburgh bookstores. The guide follows. All bookstores, libraries and for-profits and non-profits working with books in the city, both past & present (& future) are reviewed and described (occasionally with references). Present day bookstores in Greater Pittsburgh are briefly enumerated, including chain stores, and comic book outlets. The review is followed by a list of what categories of stores were NOT reviewed. The author is unaffiliated with ALL of the shops. Shops in the city are clustered by neighborhoods. Shops in suburbia are clustered by either their type (chain store / comic book store) or their access (serviced routes). Since I have moved to Texas for a post doctoral appointment, hence this list will no longer be maintained.
Libraries and bookshops past and present in the 'burgh:Pittsburgh has always had, and continues to retain more than a fair proportion of libraries and bookshops for a city of its size (see this article for comparison. To see how the scene has evolved, read this article and this one about the changing Pittsburgh book landscape of the 2000s, or this article from 1995 about antiquarian book sellers in Pittsburgh in the 1990s. Or this article about the late 1980s. Or this article (Part 1, Part 2) about used book stores in Pittsburgh from the mid-1980s. Or this one (Part 1, Part 2) from the early 1980s. More articles from the '80s are here (Part 1, Part 2) and here. Figures of library circulation here. For a glimpse into an even older landscape, read this article about the man behind the Pittsburgh Almanac here, and an article on the bookstore and library scenario in the early 20th century here.
- Carnegie Library: The main branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is huge, as well as being the largest Carnegie Library in the world. With its friendly librarians, inter library loans, storytelling sessions for children, second language classes for immigrants, and discard book sales in its library shop (originally Andrew's Alcove - see article), the CLP Oakland has a presence as large as the dinosaur statue in front. Virtually every single neighborhood in Pittsburgh has a CLP, starting with Braddock (the world's first Carnegie Library), and most of them survived the 2008 - 09 recession despite facing the threat of branch closure via proactive fund-raising. The catalog as linked from the Worldcat page. An article on the libray here and on the branch closings here.
- Hillman Library: The single biggest library in Pittsburgh is the Hillman Library of the University of Pittsburgh, with several smaller branches in and around Oakland. The Health Sciences Library is located at UPMC Shadyside. The catalog as linked from the Worldcat page.
- Hunt Library: The Hunt is a small library of the Carnegie Mellon University library system with other associated libraries on campus like the Engineering Sciences Library in Wean Hall, and the Software Engineering Library in Software Engineering Institute. The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation on the library's top floor annually holds exhibitions of botanical illustration. The Mellon Institute Library is also a part of the university library system, with huge leather armchairs and a well tended log fireplace in the reading room. The catalog as linked from the Worldcat page.
- Caliban Bookshop: A nice shop with a large collection of rare books, and a lot of old Pittsburgh facsimilies, weeklies and photographs.If you are looking for a 1st edition Mark Twain (for reasons best known to yourself), then this is your best bet. I made the mistake of enquiring about the price of a first edition of Wodehouse's Sam the Sudden. A little known secret - Caliban opened a paperback basement room in Fall 2005 - with affordable books! Check their listings.
- Townsend Booksellers: Townsend Booksellers is the other bookshop in the Craig Street area. Very eclectic collection: discards from the Carnegie Library, 19th century Travel and Adventure books with beautiful lithographs, and a section on Engineering with turn-of-the-century Steel Engineering books, and a big non-canon Sherlockiana shelf! The charm of the place lies in the roaring log fires, the rocking chair and their unique bookends collection. Check their listings.
- Phantom of the Attic: Located in two attics on Craig Street, one attic caters to the comic strip crowd, while the other caters to gamers. Packed with DC and Marvel comics, and knowledgable proprietors - but with little or no Franco-Belgian comics. Check their listings.
- Campus bookstores: The Pitt Book Centre is a reasonably well stocked bookshop stocking University of Pittsburgh textbooks, new fiction and non-fiction, and a well-stocked children's section, not common in university bookstores. The Medical School book shop is the nearby Health Book Centre. Check their listings and events. The Carnegie Mellon Bookstore is a small university bookstore selling mostly textbooks and university press, faculty and alumni publications. Check their listings. The Carnegie Mellon press (which mainly publishes poetry) and University of Pittsburgh press (which mainly publishes social science titles, especially East European Studies) publications are available through the campus bookstores. The CMU University Center also regularly hosts dollar book sales of all kinds of books (especially sci-fi) in the courtyard or the foyer. These are usually advertised on the university bulletin boards.
- Carnegie Museum shops sells books published by the Carnegie Museum press, with some information here. Scientific publications of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History are available here.
- Jay's Book Stall: The biggest book store in Oakland used to sport a fiercely loyal clientele for 53 years, and was often in the news for book signings and suchlike. The apparent claim to fame of Jay's is that author Michael Chabon worked at Jay's during his salad days, but in reality Joe Dantry's personality loomed large over the shop. New British imports were common here - probably the first place to sell the new Pratchett on the roster. An article about the shop's closing and Joe Dantry's retirement.
- Bryn Mawr Vassar Bookstore: The third shop in the Craig Street area shut shop in November 2005. R.I. P. Alas! No more two whole floors of bookshop with ceiling to floor shelving, no more the 50% discounts cycling through the shop rooms, the free bin where one could pick up and return New Yorkers and Audubons. Also, no more the large children's section in the basement whose pride of place was taken by a complete first edition of the Lucy Perkins' Twins series. The closest incarnation of a Village bookstore is no more. To know more about this unusual little shop, read this.
- Eljay's Used Books: A great used bookstore on the South Side with a knowledgable proprietor, an excellent science fiction section and a large literature section. Do take a look at their Penny Dreadful section and Books on Books section. Check their listings.
- City Books: The largest used book store in Pittsburgh, City Books spans two stories, with a defunct capuccino bar and very impressive collections of philosophy, religion, American literature, and translated literature. Be alert on the spiral staircase, though ! Check their listings.
- Joseph Beth Booksellers: Pittsburgh's largest bookstore sports a huge music and DVD section, large graphic album section, and impressive local, social studies (especially Judaica) and literature sections. It also sports a separate children's section and a cafe. The centerpiece for South Side Works, Joseph Beth marks the Eastern end of the South Side shopping district. The store's opening caused a lot of talk around town. Probably the only new book seller in Pittsburgh beside Borders in the Eastside Mall. Check their listings.
- South Side CLP: The South Side Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is a small branch located right beside the Birmingham Bridge.
- Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation: PHLF is a non-profit which publishes good quality books on Pittsburgh and local history through its own press. It has its offices in Station Square.
- Riverrun Books: Riverrun Books and Prints moved up the Monongahela to Greensboro, PA. Their inventory can be found here.
- The Goodwill Store: The Goodwill Bookstore - Bookends on Carson got subsumed by the Goodwill megastore on Carson Street. Presently, the Goodwill store keeps a small collection of mass market paperbacks at reasonable prices.
- St. Elmo's Books, and Gertrude Stein Memorial Literary Society: South Side's special interest bookshops have closed. St. Elmo's shut shop a few years ago on Carson Street, but the faded sign is still there at Carson and Birmingham Bridge. As did the Gertrude Stein Memorial bookshop (see article). Gertrude Stein's connection with Pittsburgh lies in the fact that she was born on the North Side.
- Copacetic Comics:The bookstore on Asbury Place (a quiet little back street) was home to Christina's Used World of Books (see here) before Copacetic. Copacetic moved to Polish Hill, leaving Squirrel Hill without a bookstore for the first time in over a century.
- Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library: The Squirrel Hill Library opened in Dec 1972, after nearly a decade of debate (read here). It has one of the largest children's libraries outside of the Oakland branch. The Squirrel Hill CLP moved to the swanky new building at the corner of Forbes and Murray in 2006, and has steadily grown.
- Barnes and Noble: The Squirrel Hill B&N next to Manor Theatre downed its shutters on December 31, 2009 - leaving the Eastside Borders as the city's only mega-bookstore. It wasnt able to navigate past the recession and the East Liberty Borders at the same time. Read this article.
- Three Penny Bookstore: The last generic used book seller in Squirrel Hill shut shop in the summer of 2005. Three Penny Books had a great collection of old books, Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh weeklies, and a well-stocked art and drama section. R. I. P.
- The Bookworm: This used bookshop moved inside the amazing Heads Together DVD store, but still folded.
- Starbase One: The comics shop on Forbes and Murray with its great collection of manga, and foreign DVDs is no more.
- The Squirrel Hill Bookshop (& Schoyer's): This bookstore on Forbes and Murray is now the Squirrel Hill Newsstand. The Squirrel Hill Bookshop took over the remnants of Schoyer's on Negley and Solway - the doyen of Pittsburgh used book stores which closed in 1996 after 44 years of business. Schoyer's in its turn started life as Scifert's downtown, where it was purchased as an anniversary gift in 1952, and moved to Squirrel Hill in the 1960s. See this article.
- Tuckers - The Books: Tuckers on Murray and Nicholson, which was a Pittsburgh institution for years, also shut shop in the 1990s, and is presently the sight of an eyewear store. Originally starting off as an antiques store, antiquarian books kind of took over the shop. See this article.
- Carnegie Library: Starting off downtown in 1924, the Carnegie Library's Business and Downtown branch has shuttled from Grant Street (the City-County Building, then the Union Trust Building) to Forbes Avenue (Allegheny Building, later the Forbes Building) to Wood Street (the Library Center) to (currently) Smithfield Street. The foundation behind the library is headquartered downtown. Read about the first and the final move. The downtown area has had a long history of libraries. The original proposal of a library was published in the Pittsburgh Gazette in 1788 by John Boyd, but the outcome of the endeavour is not known. The first bookshop in Pittsburgh, The Franklin Head Bookstore, started a circulating library in 1802. This was followed by a children's library opened by Thomas Davis in 1812. In 1813, William Thompson opened another circulating library on Union St. The Pittsburgh Library Company was formed, and in 1814 merged with the Pittsburgh Permanent Library Company. The Mercantile Library Association was formed in 1847, and they erected Library Hall between 1867 - 70. In 1873, unable to pay rent, it moved to a public school in the village of Knoxville, by the Mon. It would be 1924 before a big library again served downtown. Read this book for a history of early Pittsburgh libraries.
- Steel City Comics: Pittsburgh's newest comic store, with a large indie collection, opened on Smithfield and the Boulevard of the Allies.
- Toonseum: Pittsburgh's newest museum focusses on political cartoonists, especially Post-Gazette and City Paper cartoonists. It also publishes some comics and sells them through the museum shop. It is located in the Cultural District on Liberty Ave. It is affiliated with the The Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco and The Charles M. Schulz Museum.
- Steadfast Book Bindery: Steadfast is Pittsburgh's only book bindery and book restoration shop located on Penn Ave in the Cultural District downtown.
- Bradley's Book Cellar: The only proponent of the "dive" bookstore in Pittsburgh is no more. It moved out to the borough of Green Tree.
- For the greater part of the 20th century, downtown book stores were dominated by the bok departments of the "merchant princes" of Pittsburgh: Kaufmann's, Horne's and Gimbel's. Horne's and Gimbel's are no more, and Kaufmann's is now Macy's : their book department first franchised to B Dalton's and now to Bradley's. The only remaining presence of Bradley's downtown is Bradley's Book Attic - merely a few shelves of discard books on the top floor of the Downtown Kaufmann's (whoops, Macy's). Read about the rise of 3 departmental store book sections here and their decline here.
- The downtown Barnes and Noble was a medium-sized affair, with a small cafe, and several work desks. It was regularly host to book signings, etc before changing fortunes forced B&N to pull the store, leaving Downtown without a proper book store. An article about the closing. The Golden Triangle has long been a magnet for chain book stores. A huge Atlantic Book Store graced Market Street for years, and a smaller one was on Smithfield St (and one more in Squirrel Hill and some in the suburbs), and B Dalton's at Kaufmann's and Brentano's at William Penn Hotel (see here) were part of the downtown landscape for most of the 20th century. With the revitalization of Pittsburgh, and with bookstores moving to the internet or being operated out of residential houses, it seems that downtown might have a long wait ahead for a bookstore. Plans to build a bookshop in the Warner Theater remains on the back burner since the recession.
- Frank Skleder: Skleder's was probably the largest independent bookseller downtown in the 20th century, with an eclectic collection and after-work hours. Skleder's folded in 2003 after 43 years of business, unable to deal with rising rents.
- US Government Bookstore: The US Government Printing Office (GPO) decided to close all its brick and mortar outlets outside DC in 2003 and moved online here. They were located in the Federal Building on Liberty Avenue. They printed publications of all three branches of the federal government - administrative, judicial and executive. This included commonly used publications like census reports and guides to national parks. The Electronic Freedom of Information Act which led to more and more government documents being published online, among other things, led to the closing of the GPOs, read here.
- Downtown also holds the charming record of being host to the first (and only one in the 18th century) bookshop west of the Alleghenies. (read this article). The first bookstore and printing press was opened around 1795 by John Gilkison on Water Street downtown, under the patronage of Judge Brackenridge. Gilkison died in 1798, but the shop was sold in 1802 to Zadok Cramer. Cramer expanded the press and bookshop into a publishing house on Market Street, also starting up a lending library. He ran the store under a banner with the sign of Ben Franklin's head, since Ben Franklin was the "patron saint" of all publishers. The store became "The Franklin Head Bookstore" and dominated downtown bookselling in the 19th century. With the city growing, in 1811, Patterson and Hopkins opened a bookstore on Wood and Fourth. They started publishing Pittsburgh's second almanac (The Honest Man's Almanac). Hot on its heel in 1812, John Snowden opened another bookshop on Market St. Read this book for a history of early Pittsburgh bookshops.
- Communist Party bookstore: The dubious distinction of Pittsburgh's most infamous bookstore is probably held by the Communist Party bookstore on Grant Street. Manned by workers from town and the industrial suburbs, it distributed and sold communist propaganda in large quantities. This ultimately led to the prosecution and incarceration of Steve Nelson in 1950 (see here), and the bookstore being referred to as the "advance outpost of the Red Army" during the hearings.
- Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny: One of the early users of the James Anderson Library was Andrew Carnegie, who in return gave Allegheny City $30,000 to build a Carnegie Library, provided it payed 10% of its upkeep. In this regard it was the first Carnegie Library to use taxpayers' money. Carnegie also paid for a memorial to James Anderson, which presently stands in front of the library. The library came under the auspices of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as a regional branch when the City of Pittsburgh annexed the City of Allegheny in 1907. It was operated by the City of Pittsburgh as a distinct entity at first and in 1952 was merged into the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system. (see article)
- City of Asylum / Pittsburgh: The City of Asylum is a non-profit providing shelter and benefits to writers under threat of death or exile. Pittsburgh joined as a host city in 2004, when poet Huang Xiang was hosted on Sampsonia Way. Huang Xiang painted his own walls with his poems, giving the narrow alley a very different look. City of Asylum is also planning a bookstore, which would be the first in a while on the North Side.
- Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh: This is not a bookstore, but for low income families looking for a way to provide their children with books, Reading is Fundamental provides a huge collection of books and a host of innovative programs like "Read to Your Parents". It is located right next to the Children's Museum on the Allegheny Commons, but mostly organizes outreach activities, detailed on their website.
- The James Anderson Library Institute of Allegheny City: James Anderson's library was the first library on the North Side. The personal library of Colonel James Anderson was opened up for "working boys" every Saturday. The library was first located at Anderson Manor, before moving to the crossing of the Federal Street and the Diamond (Allegheny Commons).
- Allegheny Depository: The Allegheny Depository is a huge building on the North Side which stores rare books and manuscripts of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and previously was home to the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, and then the Allegheny branch of CLP. It was closed to the public since a lightning strike to its bell tower in 2006 when CLP moved to a new home, and it was converted into a depository. In 2009, facing budget cuts, CLP decided to scrap the Allegheny Depository and digitize and move the depository collection to its other branches. The building is slated to be returned to the city. Read this article.
- Gregory Eide's: Eide's moved from Etna to Federal Street, before moving to the Strip. It specialized in fantasy, sci-fi and comics.
- Olga Snyder's Books: This store too was located on Federal Street. Its claim to posterity lies in being the birthplace of Gertrude Stein.
- Eide's: Eide's is Pittsburgh's largest comics and entertainment (read gaming and music) store. Huge vintage collections of DC, Marvel and a small collection of old used imports make the store visit interesting, as does the knowledgable proprietor. Check out their listings. Eide's started off in nearby Etna, PA, before moving to the North Side and finally relocating to a three story building in the Strip.
- Bradley's Book Outlet: Bradley's runs a small shop in the heart of the Strip District primarily with remainders and library discards.
- The Big Idea Bookshop: The closest thing to an anarchist bookshop in Pittsburgh, which bills itself as the "friendly neighbourhood radical bookstore". Small but interesting sections on socialism and environmental activism. A section on "zine"s (little magazines) is also present.
- The Carnegie Library for the Blind and the Physically Handicapped is located on Baum Boulevard and hosts many events, and has a significant stock of audiobooks, and use "Project Echo" to provide digital audiobooks to their users. Carnegie Library first started service for the blind in 1907. Allegheny Regional Branch took over the service after its merger with CLP between 1959 and 1968. From 1968, the Baum Boulevard branch has been dedicated for this purpose. The introduction of audiobooks dramatically reduced Braille users, and with the Free Library of Philadelphia taking over the Braille services, CLP focussed more on audiobooks, and their Braille collection was distributed. The catalog as linked from the Worldcat page.
- Cards, Comics and Games: CCG is a tiny comics store at the very edge of Bloomfield.
- The UPMC Health Sciences Library is located at UPMC Shadyside on Centre and Aiken. The catalog as linked from the Worldcat page.
- Stone Wall Books: Stone Wall Books on Walnut Street was the last used bookstore to close in Shadyside, to be replaced by the Stone Wall Coffee Shop and Art Gallery, to be replaced by a chocolate shop.
- Pinocchio Books: The city's last children's bookshop - Pinnochio Books on Aiken and Walnut shut shop a while back. There is no longer a dedicated children's book store in Pittsburgh.
- Duquesne University Bookstore: The Duquesne University Bookstore stocks Duquesne textbooks and books published by Duquesne University Press (see here). The best law school in Pittsburgh is under Duquesne, so this is the place to buy law books in Pittsburgh. See their listings. The store is run by Barnes & Noble, and also carries B&N stock.
- The Gumberg Library at Duquesne University is a small university library. Search its Worldcat listings here. The Law School Library under Gumberg is located at the same venue, and its listings can be searched here.
- Copacetic Comics: Copacetic Comics moved to Polish Hill from Squirrel Hill, giving Polish Hill its first bookstore in years. Squirrel Hill, on the other hand, lost its last bookstore and will be without a bookstore for the first time in a century. This tiny shop cohabits a townhouse with a coffee shop and record store, and is packed with (expensive) European and Quebecois imports, and also has a very expensive foreign DVD collection. However, the books section and the comics section both feature regular discounting and have some fantastic deals from time to time. The bargain and free bins outside are worth sifting through. Check their listings.
North Hills neighborhoods
- Woods Run CLP, Marshall-Shadeland: The Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny also operated a branch in Woods Run which was also merged into the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. (see article) Since the successful renovation of the Squirrel Hill branch of the CLP, the Woods Run branch among others have been renovated in a bid to improve the public space wrt lighting and usability.
- Eastside Borders: Borders came to the Eastside mall in 2006, providing a bookstore in the Shadyside - Friendship - East Liberty area. Presently, it is the only mega bookstore in town. Borders stocks quite a few local books as well as a large children's and movie + music section.
- Carnegie Library: The East Liberty branch is the third largest and one of the oldest in the CLP system. The library started off in 1905 at Station Street and Larimer Avenue. The original building was razed during "urban renewal" in East Liberty. The East Liberty branch is presently closed for repair.
- Mazefsky's: Mazefsky's was a small bookseller on Wellesley Ave, and fell prey to East Liberty's urban renewal program which devastated the neighborhood. This region is now technically Highland Park.
- Carnegie Library: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's newest branch was completed only in 2008. However, the Hill and CLP go back a long way. The CLP started a branch on the Hill in 1899 on Wylie Avenue, and moved to Centre and Dimwiddie Street in a rented space in 1982 (see article - Part 1, Part 2). CLP introduced Project Outreach with small bookmobiles, and informal lending schemes to bring the CLP to the Hill residents in 1968 (read this). It then opened the Martin Luther King Jr Cultural Center, which was a reading center on the Hill. The Center folded for lack of money. In 2008, the new CLP was inaugurated at Centre and Kirkpatrick. The library's stock of books has changed with the Hill's demographics. Initially circulating books in 15 languages, it sent all its Hebrew literature to the Squirrel Hill branch as Russian Jews migrated to Squirrel Hill. Presently, it has a large stock of African American literature. Read more here.
- Berry's Books: The Hill District's first bookshop, Berry's Books opened as part of an early 2000s development One Hope Square, but folded shortly thereafter.
The South Hills neighborhoods
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: CLP operates branches in Carrick, Beechview, Knoxville, and Brookline. See here for the store locations. Based on the 2009 budget cuts, restructuring of some of these branches is scheduled.
- Phantom of the Attic, Ridgemont: Phantom of the Attic runs a comics store branch in the near ghost mall Parkway Center Mall.
- Geekadrome, Brookline: Geekadrome is Brookline's shiny new comics store.
The West End neighborhoods
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: CLP operates branches in West End, and Sheraden. See here for the library locations.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: The CLP branch commands a sweeping view of the city skyline, a few blocks from Mary of the Mount. However, due to budget cuts, the branch is scheduled to move.
- Autumn House Press: Poetry publishers, located at 87 ½ Westwood Street
Homewood, Hazelwood, Lawrenceville
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: CLP operates three century-old branches in these three neighborhoods. The branch at Lawrenceville was the first branch library of CLP, and is among the first libraries in the country to have a children's room and provide publicly accessible stacks. The Lawrenceville library was built on part of a veteran's graveyard with a land grant from Stephen Foster's father. See this or this for articles on the Lawrenceville branch. The Homewood branch recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. See here for the store locations.
- Awesome Books: Pittsburgh's newest bookstore opened on Penn Ave during the Feb 2010 winter snowstorm. Used bookstore complete with cats, a children's used book section and a large section on the arts.
Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area
Chain retailers or co-ops
- Half-Price Books: Half-Price Books operates 4 stores around Pittsburgh. With large collections of used fiction, pulp fiction, photography, science and history books, they are one of the few chains which offer books not necessarily available online for cheaper prices. Staff are also knowledgable.
- Borders : Borders arrived in Pittsburgh as early as 1990, and was considered a large independent bookseller, similar to how Joseph-Beth is perceived now.
- Barnes & Noble: Barnes and Noble operate several stores outside town, even though all their in-city stores save for their Duquesne University campus store have closed.
- Books-a-million: No Books-a-Million exist in the Greater Pittsburgh area, but a couple are present in the WV - OH - PA tristate area.
- There are no Book Rack stores in the Greater Pittsburgh area. The nearest ones are in Johnstown, PA or Sharon, PA (check here for locations).
- Hudson Booksellers, PIT airport: Chain bookseller at US airports.
Carnegie LibrariesBesides the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, Andrew Carnegie helped fund and build numerous other libraries in the Greater Pittsburgh areas. The first few libraries, including the Allegheny and Pittsburgh ones, were built with a foundation in place, even though today they are mostly funded with taxpayers' money. The later Carnegie libraries were built with the agreement that the state paid primarily for the upkepp. The first Carnegie Library was built in Andrew Carnegie's village of Dunfermline, in Scotland, in 1883. The following libraries were then built :
- Carnegie Free Library of Braddock, 1889: The first Carnegie Library in the US and the second in the world, it was initially run as a subsidiary of Carnegie Steel, and finally endowed in 1895. After the formation of US Steel, a single foundation ran the endowed libraries of Braddock, Duquesne and Homestead. To stave off financial woes in the 1960s, the foundation sold off the Braddock and Duquesne branches to the school districts for $1. It remained closed for most of the 1970s, before a remarkable community effort re opened the library in the mid 1980s. It no longer has access to the endowment since it was sold.
- Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny, 1890: It was the first of the libraries to run under the Carnegie formula, where the city pledges to spend a certain amount every year for buying books and upkeep and provides the land, with Andrew Carnegie constructing the library.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 1895: CLP was the next in line, again with the city pledging support.
- Carnegie Free Library of Homestead, 1898: This was the next endowed library. Built on top of the hill just opposite the steel mills where the Pinkerton shootouts happened, it is a large and imposing building. It is located in the present day borough of Munhall. It too was endowed. after formation of US Steel, a single foundation ran the endowed libraries of Braddock, Duquesne and Homestead. Due to financial woes in the 1960s, the other 2 libraries were sold off. Thus, the Homestead library now controls the entire endowment. See this.
- Wilkinsburg Public Library, 1899: Originally the Carnegie Free Library of Wilkinsburg, this library opened as a branch of the Braddock library, before the city of Wilkinsburg's pledge spun off a new library.
- Andrew Carnegie Free Library, 1901: No, its not the Carnegie Library of Carnegie. It is also the last of the existing endowed Carnegie libraries, with an endowment of its own. See here.
- Oakmont Carnegie Library, 1901: It was pledged for by the borough in 1901. The control of the library moved to the school district and back to the borough.
- Carnegie Free Library of McKeesport, 1902: Built on top of another hill, the McKeesport Carnegie Library now sports 4 branches : McKeesport, Elizabeth Township, White Oak, Duquesne. The last branch covers Duquesne as Duquesne demolished its own Carnegie Library in the 1960s.
- Carnegie Free Library of Beaver Falls, 1903: This was the first library opened in Beaver County. It is presently part of the Beaver County Library System.
- Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville, 1903: This was the first library opened in Fayette County.
- Carnegie Free Library of Duquesne, 1904: The last of the Carnegie Free Libraries to be endowed. After formation of US Steel, a single foundation ran the endowed libraries of Braddock, Duquesne and Homestead. Due to financial woes in the 1960s, it was sold off to the school district for $1 which promptly razed it for a school building which was never constructed. It is the only Carnegie Library in SWPA to be demolished. It was closed in 1968. Read this. After the library closed, the Carnegie Library of McKeesport opened a branch in Duquesne inside the school house, but the high school subsequently closed, but the library is still running.
- Carnegie Library of Midland, 1914: This was the second library in Beaver County, and is now part of the Beaver County Library System.
- C C Mellor Memorial Library, 1914: The grant to this library was given in 1914. C C Mellor Memorial operates in Edgewood, just outside the city limits.
- Carnegie Library of Swissvale, 1918: This was the last of the grants given in SWPA to build a new library. See here.
- Butler Area Public Library, 1921: This corresponded to the last grant for Carnegie Libraries in SWPA. The Butler Area Public Library was opened by the Literary Club, a group of 123 Butler women, in 1894. The Carnegie grant was received in 1917, and a brand new building built in 1921.
County-wide Public Library Systems
- Allegheny County
- Armstrong County
- Beaver County
- Butler County
- Fayette County
- Greene County
- Indiana County
- Lawrence County
- Washington County
- Westmoreland County
- Finds books in libraries near you with Worldcat.
Comic book stores in the Greater Pittsburgh area
- Duncan Comics, Ross Township, PA
- New Dimension Comics, West Mifflin & Canonsburg, PA
- Tunnel Comics, Mt Lebanon, PA
- Bell's Comics, Grove City, PA
- Value Booksellers, Grove City, PA
- Watchwork Comics, N Versailles, PA
- Comic Book Connection, Penn Hills, PA
- Impossible Dreams, Bridgeville, PA
- Phantom of the Attic, Monroeville
- Impossible Dreams, Bridgeville, PA
- Arkham Gift Shop, Allison Park, PA
- Aresto Comics, Lower Burrell, PA
- Evil Genius, California, PA
US 30 - Lincoln Highway
- Brillig Books, Wilkinsburg: Small bookstore operating out of Wilkinsburg.
- Village Bookstore, North Versailles: Small bookstore in North Versailles.
- Tommy's Book Shelf, Greensburg: Large used bookstore with knowledgable proprietor.
- Pattie's Used Paperbacks, Greensburg: Paperback exchange.
- Joy's Japanimation, Greensburg: Manga and anime store.
- Red Barn Books: Greensburg's latest bookstore, not yet open for business.
- Martha's Book Nook, Latrobe : Used books. Earlier Pennywise Books.
- Second Chapter Books, Ligonier: Used bookstore in Ligonier.
- Chapters Books and Music, Lower Burrell: New book and music store.
- Reads Ink Bookstore, Vandergrift: Used bookstore which does not set prices using the Internet, and hence has good offers on books
- Book Nook, Indiana: New book store
- Gray's Rare and Used Books, Indiana: Antiquarian book seller
- Tattered Corners, Meadville: The furthest store from Pittsburgh listed in this guide. Outside Greater Pittsburgh, but probably the largest bookstore in Pittsburgh and its hinterland. Displays over 30,000 books - both new and used. Organizes school book fairs.
- Paperback Place, Mercer: Used paperback seller.
- The Book Place, Cranberry Township: New bookstore in Cranberry Township
- Bradley's Book Cellar, Greentree: This moved from Downtown to Greentree a few years back.
- Bargain Books, Dormont: Previously Book Rack. Paperback bin bookstore. Very reminescent of Indian second hand paperback renters.
- Tall Tales: A Bookstore for Children, Mt Lebanon: A children's bookstore which closed a while back. (see Part 1, Part 2)
- Public Library Used Book Store, Bridgeville: Bridgeville's public library sports a library discard store
- Bounce Back Books, Washington PA: Used book store
PA 8 - William Flynn Highway
- Hartwood Restaurant, Glenshaw: Pittsburgh's only restaurant cum bookstore is over 30 years old and going strong.
- The Book Barn: Shoppers at the Richland Mall were disappointed when the swanky new bookstore turned out to only be a prop for the filming of Mysteries of Pittsburgh.
- Book Nook, Butler: New bookstore in Butler.
- Readers' Paradise, Butler: Used bookstore.
- Cox and Cox, Butler: Wholesale book sellers.
Mon - Yough Valley
- Book Nook, Boston / Elizabeth Township: Originally Twice Sold Tales. Small used bookstore.
- The Book Case, Connellsville: New book store in Connellsville.
- Plumcircle, West Mifflin: Bookstore in the Century III Mall
- Riverrun Books, Greensboro: By aptt only. South Side Bookstore relocated.
PA 28 - Allegheny Valley Expressway
- The Aspinwall Bookstore, Aspinwall: New and used bookstore right outside city limits.
- Pittsburgh's First Comix and Sci-Fi Shop, Etna: Eide's original avatar which opened in Etna, PA moved to the North Side and finally relocated to the Strip.
- Busy Times Bookstore, Springdale: New books, primarily children's books.
- Rachel Carson Homestead: Springdale is also home to the Rachel Carson Homestead, the childhood home and museum dedicated to environmentalist and author Rachel Carson.
- The Mystery Lovers' Bookshop, Oakmont: A mystery themed new bookstore in Oakmont. Mostly sells pulp fiction, but also stores a little bit of Sherlockiana.
PA 65 - Ohio River Boulevard
- Penguin Bookstore, Sewickley: Small bookstore selling new books with sections on the environment and politics.
- Book Tree, Monaca: New bookstore.
- Check out this literary and cultural heritage map of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh.
- It is early days yet, but the Steel City Comic Con has more toys and less comics than expected.
- Lecture series: Drue Heinz series, Black White and Read All Over, American Shorts, Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series
- A Google map of book sales in PA & surrounding areas.
- A list of book sales near Pittsburgh.
- The Three Rivers Storytelling Festival is the closest thing Pittsburgh has to a book fair.
What is not listed
- Bookstores & libraries outside the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area (eg in Johnstown, PA)
- Small mall and tourist venue outlets (eg B Daltons, Waldenbooks, and some Bradleys)
- University bookstores with no university press (eg Point Park U) or a very small one (eg Carlow University)
- Small book subsections of themed stores
- Trade school bookstores (eg Le Cordon Bleu)
- Textbook-only bookstores (eg GotUsed Bookstore)