Upon reopening, the Downtown branch, located at 612 Smithfield Street, will be 68% larger than before and will feature a new two-story foyer designed by local architect Karen Loysen, window seating area, and dedicated children’s and teens’ spaces, and adult work spaces.
“Our Downtown branch supports the thousands of people who live, work, study, shop, and visit Pittsburgh,” says CLP president and director Mary Frances Cooper in a press release. “It is an essential community asset that supports community resiliency and the post-COVID revitalization of Pittsburgh.”
The renovation was made possible by support from foundations, individuals, corporations, and state assistance. The new children’s area features elements designed to keep kids' individual interests engaged in out-of-school time.
To service the four high schools located in Downtown, as well teens who pass through neighborhood via public transit, the library’s teen space is designed to foster teens’ love of reading, introduce them to new interests and people, develop their creativity, and prepare them for life after high school.
In addition to the new work, study, and meeting spaces, the Downtown library branch will also provide laptops for lending, databases, and free Wi-Fi to community members to help bridge economic and digital divides.
“The Library is often the first stop for people seeking a job, exploring a new career, or creating a new business,” says Cooper. “The expanded spaces on the second floor will allow for quiet work and study, as well as provide access to technology, collections and our trained staff.”
When the library reopens on April 20, patrons will be able to use public computers; access and check out materials; and print, pick up, and place holds. For those who prefer no-contact service, curbside and walk-up service is also available during hours of operation for picking up holds, returning materials, submitting a print job, or taking advantage of outdoor WiFi. People will also be able to apply for a library card.