Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center CLP.20170523.002

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Archives and Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Archives and Special Collections
Title
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center
Collection Number
CLP.20170523.002
Date [inclusive]
1964-2001
Extent
1.5 Linear Feet Three boxes
English

Preferred Citation

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center, William R. Oliver Special Collections, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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Biographical / Historical

In 1970, Elizabeth McCombs, a librarian for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, came up with the idea for the establishment of a reading room. Soon after, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center of the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh was opened. It is well known for its strong collection of African-American literature, both fiction and non-fiction, consisting of many books by and about African Americans. The original building was a small store front, on Herron Avenue in Pittsburgh's Hill District community. It was both a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and an attempt to respond to the informational needs of the community.

The Reading Center was characterized by intense community programming and outreach activities. Volunteers from the community staffed the reading room. Quickly the use and added donations of reading material outgrew the small space. During that time a "Friends" group was organized by Daisy Reed, a librarian at the reading center, to support the reading room. The Friends along with community residents met with representatives of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh to suggest the building of a new reading room on City owned land on Herron Avenue.

In 1986, the City of Pittsburgh planned to build a new center down the block. But what the city planned and what the Friends of Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center were two different things. The Friends group wanted a larger community center were as the city wanted to keep the building the same size. The group proposed a multi-phased compromise with allowed the city to proceed with the new reading center facility as 'Phase I', which the city would finance. The planned multi-building complex would add an information center and cultural resource component to the final construction, which would be supplemented by the Friends.

In May 1988, the new building was erected and dedicated as a branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to be known as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading and Cultural Center. It included a meditation center, reading-information site for adult literacy, services for troubled youths, and small business information center. The MLK Reading and Cultural Center remained a branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh until 2005. In September 2005 the Carnegie decided to close the MLK branch based upon its proposal to build a new Hill District Branch. In January 2006, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh agreed to relinquish the building to the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center, Inc.

On May 1, 2006, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading and Cultural Center opened under the direction of the Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center, Inc.

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Content Description

The bulk of the collection consists of monthly and annual reports, administration correspondence and information regarding fund raising and building of a new building facility. The records range from 1964 until 2001 with the bulk in the late 1980s.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged alphabetically by folder and chronologically within each folder.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Archives and Special Collections

4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
info@carnegielibrary.org
URL: http://www.carnegielibrary.org/

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions.

Custodial History

Transferred from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center to the William R. Oliver Special Collections Room

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Collection Inventory

  boxfolder
Administrative Correspondence 1970-2002 11
  boxfolder
Annual Reports 1998-2003 12
  boxfolder
Annual Reports 1994-1997 13
  boxfolder
Annual Reports 1980-1993 14
  boxfolder
Blueprints 1964-1987 15
  boxfolder
Board of Directors Retreat 1993 16
  boxfolder
Building Construction-Phase II, Correspondence and Design 1987-1993 17
  boxfolder
Building Construction-Phase II, Equipment and Furniture 1988-1989 18
  boxfolder
Building Construction-Phase II, Fundraising 1990 19
  boxfolder
Building Construction-Phase I, Correspondence and Design 1985-1989 110
  boxobject
Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading Center-Damianos and Associates Architects 21
  boxfolder
Donations 1998-2001 21
  boxfolder
Events/Programs 1975-2001 22
  boxfolder
Financial Information/Budget 1986-1998 23
  boxfolder
Friends of MLK, Jr. Reading Center Correspondence 1988-2001 24
  boxfolder
Friends of MLK, Jr. Reading Center Financial Information 1988-2000 25
  boxfolder
Fundraising 1993 26
  boxfolder
Goals and Objectives 2001-2005 27
  boxfolder
Grants 1988-2003 28
  boxfolder
History -1982 29
  boxfolder
Institute of Black Cultural Studies 1987 210
  boxfolder
Invoices and Bills 1999-2000 211
  boxfolder
Leases 1972-1979 212
  boxobject
Management Plan 1992 22
  boxfolder
Monthly Activity Report-Branch Services 1982-1983 213
  boxfolder
Monthly Reports 2000 214
  boxfolder
Monthly Reports 1998-1999 31
  boxfolder
Monthly Reports 1995-1996 32
  boxfolder
Monthly Reports-Children's Department 1988-1990 33
  boxfolder
Monthly Reports-Children's Department 1984-1987 34
  boxfolder
Monthly Reports-Children's Department 1980-1983 35
  boxfolder
Monthly Reports-Children's Department 1970-1971 36
  boxfolder
Newsletters, Press Releases, Publications 1982-1993 37
  boxfolder
Patron Count Report 2001 38
  boxfolder
Registration Statistics 1999-2005 39
  boxfolder
Staffing 1985-2001 310
  boxfolder
Summer Reading Report 2000-2001 311
  boxfolder
Technology Center 1996-1998 312
  boxobject
User Study-MLK Reading Center, Computer Tables 2000 31