Carnegie Central Library of Pittsburgh

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Spectral patrons still enjoy reading. Some are slobs.

A suicide proves once again that this rash act doesn’t give peace.

An accident caused a haunting.


Motto: Free to the People

MISSION: “The Carnegie Library empowers people to transform their lives through life-long learning, digital literacy and connections to others.”

CARNEGIE CENTRAL LIBRARY OF PITTSBURGH serves as the primary, “full-service library resource,” with 2.3 million items. Not only are their books and materials spread over all age levels, with children and teens having their own space, but it also has current and historic materials, “digital collections and information for Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and state residents.”

It is indeed one of the three thousand “Palaces for the People” built by Andrew Carnegie all over America and some in Europe. It sits on eight acres, near places of learning, training and medical care, as well as neighborhoods full of a variety of income groups.

Wow! Tom and I felt that it certainly looks like a Beaux Arts style palace from both inside and out. The visitor ascends the stairs up the hill where it overlooks the neighborhood. Andrew didn’t fool around or mince on construction. It is described by one source as being an impressive work of art, built to last, starting with structural bones made out of Carnegie steel beams.

Tom and I were blown away by “the six thousand tons of European marble, some from the very quarry that supplied Pentelic marble for the Pantheon in Athens, Greece.” ( To go along with the marble, are beautiful rounded oblong windows, arched passages from room to room, and enormous rounded, detailed ceilings.

Equally impressive are all the opportunities it offers to participate research, learn, study, find employment enjoy the arts, and the use of computers for all, including a variety of “free, alternative lending services.”

The Music, Film and Audio Department has a huge cache of movies, TV series and music in a variety of forms.

The Lending Department offers the chance to borrow musical instruments and equipment for people wanting to start musical groups, or for parents who can’t afford to buy instruments for their children who want to participate in school orchestras and symphonic bands.

They also have student music books, gadgets like metronomes, musical scores for orchestras and bands, “periodicals and special files that cover all aspects of music.”

The Job and Career Education Center “provides information and services for people, covering all aspects of job searching, career development, vocational training and higher education.”

It also offers information services and programs about starting and running businesses for entrepreneurs and business owners. Other perks include access to specialized databases, and the Foundation’s Directory Online, to name two.

The Family & Local History Department provides local history, genealogy resources, local birth and death records, reading material like newspapers on microfiche, and a rather large photography collection.

Researchers have eleven stories of stacks to peruse, that are connected and behind the library. While three stacks are open to the public, other stacks may be available for research with special permission.



Carnegie believed in the American dream for himself and for people in the community. While being a high achiever in the Pittsburgh steel industry, he believed that everyone could bring themselves up if they had the opportunities to improve themselves through reading and studying. He loved the idea of a man being a factory worker by day, and a scholar by night. He wanted to give people a chance to learn in the public library enough to be a leader, and money maker.

Andrew Carnegie would love all that is offered to people in The Carnegie Central Library of Pittsburg. It started out as the Carnegie Free Library, that he gifted the city of Pittsburgh in 1890. He generously donated funds, with the understanding that Allegheny City would have a fund to maintain it afterwards.

It opened its doors in 1895, and has been much loved by the community. It has a personal history to Tom’s family, who lived in Pittsburgh. Tom’s great Aunt Genevieve worked here, and his Grandfather Eugene was the library’s maintenance man, doing carpentry and other needed services.

The building has been renovated throughout the years without changing the historical decor to meet the needs of people. There was a need for more room for the stacks, as the three stacks found on the first floor Lending Department and the three stacks on the Second Floor Reference Room couldn’t handle any more material.

An ambitious plan with support from the community built an eleven story stacks building on the backside of the library. The lobby was redesigned, using Tennessee marble to build two side staircases. The original staircase that connected the first floor Lending Department to the Reference Department was removed.

People of the community have long loved the library, and some apparently still do as spirits.


Located in Oakland, The Carnegie Central Library of Pittsburgh, is commonly known to be one of the most haunted libraries in the city.


People who enjoy the services that a library provides, often continue as spirits to frequent their favorite place to read and research, showing their same personalities in the afterlife as they did while alive.

Sacramento Library, CA (The spirit of a former researcher still visits his favorite section to continue with his studies).

The Redwood Library and Athenaeum, RI (The spirits of people who founded this private lending library still enjoy being here, and help by keeping an eye on the collection of rare books, so dear to their hearts).

Easton Library, PA (Confused, restless spirits have moved into the beautiful library, perhaps to do some reading, while enjoying the beautiful decor, and have some chuckles at the living’s expense, as they let them know that they are there. Perhaps they are also a bit upset about the disrespect shown to their remains. This library was built over an old cemetery).

Carnegie Library in Oakland, PA (The spirits of former patrons still love to come and read. Some who may also meet as a book club).


The spirits of people who die on the job sometimes choose to stay where their lives suddenly ended for different reasons.

Kansas State Capitol, KS (A workman who fell from the dome while hammering panels in place, still works at night, hoping to finish and get his wages).

Albany State Capitol, NY (The spirit of a security guard still does his job, despite being killed in a fire here).

Union Train Station, UT (The spirit of an employee doesn’t believe that he died in an accident here and still shows up to work).

Carnegie Library in Oakland, PA (A workman who was accidentally and suddenly electrocuted continues to work in spirit form).


The spirits of people who kill themselves in their favorite places still have the same painful emotions they had when they died.

Pagoda on Five Mile Drive, WA (When a man witnessed the death of his wife in a ferry accident, his grief and horror overwhelmed him, and he killed himself in a bathroom on the lower level. His spirit is still full of grief, which seems to blind him, so he can’t see the spirit of his wife who searches for him).

Old Allen House, AR (In 1949, LaDell Allen killed herself at the age of fifty-four on Christmas Eve. The losses of her sister Lewie, her son Allen, and the loss of yet another relationship was too much grief to bear. However, while she tries to find ways to enjoy herself, the living hear her crying at night).

Hotel Adolphus, TX (The heartbreak of being stood up at the altar caused the tragic act of suicide by the overwhelmed bride-to-be. Her spirit is still forlorn and lonely).

Carnegie Library in Oakland, PA (A man killed himself in his refuge. His rash act didn’t lessen his fear of being forgotten).



The spirits who reside here love their library, and want to spend their afterlives in their favorite place without bothering the living. They are benign and follow the library rules for patrons, as they did while alive.

The Spirit of the Volunteer Workman

This volunteer truly loved working for the library.

He suddenly died while installing the new electrical box in the basement when the library was being updated to have electricity.

His spirit doesn’t want to face the fact that he died, and he continues to monitor the electrical boxes, as he tries to continue working for the library.

Personal Appearances

His lifelike apparition, wearing early 20th century work clothes, still appears in the basement and is seen by staff who have to visit there.

He wants them to know that he is still on the job.

One Staff Member’s Experience

On his way to complete a chore in the basement, one staffer was startled to see him, and walked over to tell him that the basement was off-limits to people.

Before he got to where this spirit was standing, the worker’s apparition disappeared right in front of the staff member.

With the door closed to her office, the director quietly acknowledged to the staff member that this workman had died and had become a spectral volunteer.

The Spectral Enthusiasts Mystery Book Club?

Perhaps some of the spirits who still like to read here belonged to a book club where people discussed stories.

It seems to me that there are spirits who have decided to spend their afterlives reading as many mystery books as they can after the library closes.

They may enjoy discussions about what they have read.

The Problem

They are so dedicated to this goal that all the mystery books in the section remain on the floor, stacked in front of the circulation desk. (

Because they are in spirit-form, cleaning up is best left to the librarians, is perhaps the reasoning. It may take too much energy to put books back on the shelf.

Or perhaps, they just want to check them out for their afterlife reading.

The Librarians’ Solution

The entire mystery book section was moved to another place in the library, which may have worked at first.

However, when the spirits found the new location, they continued reading and leaving the same mess.

The Spirit of the Restless Magistrate

One story explains that while alive, he was well-known at the library, and loved to visit the stacks ever since it opened in 1895. It was his refuge from the world.

Though there is nothing in the newspaper archives reporting it, a local municipal magistrate in the early 1900s who was tormented by his personal problems and life situation, apparently took his own life by hanging himself near his favorite stacks.

Soon after his body was removed, near the spot of the hanging noose, the words appeared:

“Sentio Est Hic” Latin for the “Judge is Here.” (

His Personal Appearances, seen and unseen

It is reported by the living that the magistrate’s apparition has been seen wandering the stacks near where he died.

He is still finding some peace with the material and books that he is most interested in reading and studying.

It is reported by some that the words periodically still reappear, so the spirit of the magistrate won’t be forgotten, a fear he has been working through.


For many years, personal experiences with these spirits have been reported, but ignored or explained as myths and stories.

So far, no paranormal investigations are allowed in the library.


Still Haunted?

Most probably, unless the library has secretly had a medium in to cleanse the building.

Though the spirits’ existence in all their libraries in Pittsburg have been denied publicly by the librarian authorities, hauntings have a way of being made known.

Authorities are not willing to come out of the paranormal closet, but may have to if many people become witnesses of the paranormal activity.

This has happened in many places, despite trying to ignore the hauntings. Museums, libraries, hotels and other historic buildings of interest have had to admit that they have spectral residents and visitors.

Some have even put their spirits to work, offering ghost tours and events as fundraisers.

So far, Pittsburg authorities don’t want the paranormal community coming, which would be an unwanted diversion from their main mission.

Besides, all of the spirits are benign and are enjoying their afterlives here. Why disturb their peace that they still find in the library?



4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Website.   Phone. 412.622.3114

The Carnegie Central Library of Pittsburgh is located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, with universities, medical centers, residential homes and apartments as neighbors.


  • Photography by Tom Carr (interior and exterior)
  • From Book Riot, by Cassandra Neace, 2012
  • by Amy
  • (More pictures taken by others – some are for sale,)
  • interior design of carnegie central library pittsburgh –,online_chips:andrew+carnegie:0Mil27cyp20%3D&usg=AI4_-kSFRUwi_Yhw1LMLNCjYJfaJwb5kLg&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiMjPHUiMCEAxX6L0QIHdyBC00QgIoDKAF6BAgOEBQ&biw=1252&bih=617&dpr=2#imgrc=ReH9ae84Kcp_eM&imgdii=y_-sTjh4UMkOAM

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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