SIGNIFICANT ANNIVERSARIES

FOR LIBRARY IN 1999

As we get closer to the centennial of the opening of the Library(May 1, 2001) and the dedication of the Library by Andrew Carnegie(April 22, 2002), the Library celebrated other centennial events in 1999. March 27 marked the centennial of the purchase of land, by Andrew Carnegie, for the Library and Library Park.

April 20 marked the centennial of the Library's official charter, the Declaration of Trust agreement written by Andrew Carnegie, which legally founded the Andrew Carnegie Free Library. To mark this centennial, a national history magazine for children, Cobblestone, published a magazine issue on the life and philanthropies of Andrew Carnegie.

Among the several provisions of the Trust agreement, it was declared that "The Library shall be free to the people foreverů"; however, Mr. Carnegie did allow fees to be charged for use of the Music Hall and Lecture Hall. The Trust agreement also granted permission to use both Andrew Carnegie's first and last names, as the official name of the Library; our Library was the only one, of the 2,509 public libraries funded by Andrew Carnegie, to receive this permission.

Mr. Carnegie set-up this rather unique type of charter for only a handful of the libraries he funded. Our Library's Trust agreement is one of the few, which remains as written by the Library donor.

October 19 marked one hundred years since the cornerstone of the Library building was laid and building construction commenced. An audience estimated, by the Carnegie Item, at 3,000-4,000 people participated in this important ceremony. All local school children marched from their school to the Library site, each carrying a small American flag. About one hundred members of local church choirs provided music during the program.

The cornerstone, described as a fine quality of building stone, measures 3 feet by 18 inches by 14 inches. "ERECTED A.D. 1899." is inscribed on the cornerstone, which is just north of the main Library entrance.

A copper box, 5x5x10 inches, was used as a time capsule and placed inside the cornerstone. The time capsule includes Andrew Carnegie's letter, of April 26, 1898, granting $210,000 for construction of the Library, as well as a cablegram, from Mr. Carnegie, congratulating the citizens of Carnegie for the beginning of construction of the Library. The time capsule also includes issues of the Carnegie Item, Chartiers Valley Signal, Carnegie Union, and some Pittsburgh newspapers. The program of the day, list of the Library Board of Trustees, and a number of personal and business cards were also placed in the time capsule.