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  • February 2020
    M T W T F S S
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Welcome To America’s Most Livable City?

The number of stories praising Pittsburgh keep piling up. From Most Livable to Best Places to Retire, from Top City for Geeks to Best Place to Buy a Home, Pittsburgh seems like the new cool place to be. But if everybody all over America saying Pittsburgh is so great, why is Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X calling Pittsburgh “Clicksburgh, Pistolvania?” Is it true, as Jasiri X says, that Pittsburgh has the highest rate of Black poverty among 40 comparable US cities? Is Pittsburgh the “Most Livable City” in the United States?


These are important questions to ask. Jasiri X is talking about Black poverty, and since almost 30% of Pittsburgh’s residents are African-American according to U.S. Census data, that’s three out of ten people.  That’s a lot of Pittsburghers. U.S. Census data shows that the rate of African-Americans who live in poverty in Pittsburgh is around 35.6%– certainly among the highest rates in the country. People who live in poverty have a harder time paying for housing, food, transportation and even the things that would help to lift them out of poverty, such as getting a college degree.

To make matters worse, in some of Pittsburgh’s poorest neighborhoods, there has been an increase in gun violence recently. In 2013, little Marcus Lamont White, Jr., a baby in East Hills was killed when somebody started to shoot at a community barbeque. Wiz Khalifa’s uncle was shot and killed outside the Steak ‘n Shake at the Waterfront in January, 2014. Late that same month, Hosea Davis, the man who saved a girl at the East Liberty Target from a man with a knife was shot ten times with a high-powered gun in the back. Four of the nine homicides in Allegheny County as of January 29, 2014 were African-American. In 2013, 42 of the 62 lives taken were African-American.

Gun violence and poverty levels in Pittsburgh beg the question: if Pittsburgh is the Most Livable City, who is it most livable for? How would the levels of Black poverty and gun violence in Pittsburgh affect national praise for Pittsburgh if they were taken into closer consideration? Is Pittsburgh still “Most Livable” in spite of its challenges? What do you think? How do we explain the differences between some Pittsburghers’ experiences with poverty and gun violence and national articles about how great Pittsburgh is? And finally, what are Pittsburghers doing about these problems?

There are many groups and individuals who are trying to stop gun violence in our city. One of them is Vanessa German, a spoken word artist who lives in Homewood. She exhibits her visual work and performs internationally. Vanessa created the signs that say, “Stop Shooting-We Love You” that you might have seen all over Pittsburgh. They are one of her responses to shooting in her neighborhood and beyond. Vanessa also runs ArtHouse—an after-school house where kids can come to do art alongside her. You need to hear Vanessa German if you want to better understand the strengths of Pittsburgh. She’s amazing! Here is a link to a recent performance Vanessa did about the beauty and challenges of Homewood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aktAjeFqtvw

Another is Sharon Flake, the Pittsburgh author of The Skin I’m In, Bang!, You Don’t Even Know Me and Pinned, among others. Sharon writes about kids who are dealing with poverty and violence. Sometimes reading about situations like yours can make you feel less alone. Reading about kids unlike you can help you to understand the world from many perspectives.


Check out some of these great books about gun violence, growing up poor, and how in spite of hard circumstances, people find strength through their connections to other people. And if you want to read more about Pittsburgh’s best-of lists, gun violence in our city and other ideas in this blog article, here’s a list of links:

“30 Years of Hell With The Lid Off to Most Livable: How Pittsburgh Became Cool”


“18 Reasons Why Pittsburgh is the Greatest City on the Planet”


Forbes.Com Rates Pittsburgh No. 1 “Most Livable City”


WYEP Gun Violence in Pittsburgh:


Vanessa German:


Sharon Flake:


Sheila-Hill District

Your Guide to 2014

Happy New Year!  I hope that you all have a happy, health and awesome 2014.  There are a lot of great things going on this year and I want to give you some of my highlights for this upcoming year.

The first big event to take place is the Winter Olympics, which will start on February 6th and run through February 23rd in Sochi, Russia.  There will be over 2500 athletes participating in 98 events in 15 sports.  Some of the most popular events are ice hockey, snowboarding and ice skating.  Another big sporting event will be the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will take place from June 12th to July 13th in Brazil.  The United States will have a tough time since their group includes Germany and Portugal, two of the top teams in the world.

There will also be some HUGE movies coming out this year.  One that is getting a lot of buzz is Divergent, which is based on the book by Veronica Roth.  It will be released on March 21st.

Another movie that is getting a ton of attention is The Fault in Our StarsBesides being based on the bestselling book by John Green, the movie was also shot in Pittsburgh so that gives you an extra reason to see it when it comes out on June 6th!

There are also a bunch of great new books being released this year.  The 6th book in the Mortal Instruments Series (City of Heavenly Fire) should be coming out in May and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor is due for release in April.

Those are just some of the big events taking place in this new year.  I hope you all have a fantastic 2014!!

Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving, Gives to Your Library


Tomorrow is Pittsburgh’s fourth annual Day of Giving!  Back in 2009 The Pittsburgh Foundation had the idea to set up a day devoted to giving.  It’s goals were to help increase the public’s knowledge of Nonprofits, help leverage individual funding of organizations, and spotlight the charitable trends of Pittsburghers.   All of this turned out to be a pretty good idea and last year donors gave $8.5 million to groups in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving is a great chance to make your generous donation to the Carnegie Library go even further.  Of course we think the Library is a great place to donate but we aren’t the only worthy organization.  Hundreds of nonprofits working to better Allegheny and Westmoreland county are included.

If you can’t afford the $25 minimum donation with your allowance don’t worry you can still help.  Remind adults in your life how much the library means to you and let them know that a donation made on October 3 can make a bigger impact.  And, as always, if a monetary donation is out of the question check out volunteer opportunities at your local CLP Branch.  Or use Amy’s helpful round-up of Teen Advisory Council meetings to get you donating your time instead.

Pgh Gives Logo clr


~Brooke, CLP South Side

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

He’s in a Pittsburgh Citipark near you.

All pictures of the performance were taken at the opening performance at Frick Park by the author of this post.

All pictures of the performance were taken at the opening performance at Frick Park by the author of this post.

Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks presents Romeo and Juliet, the infamous play about the original star-cross’d lovers and their tragic fate. The theatre company is celebrating their 9th season of presenting a different Shakespearian play each year completely free to the public.  This year, they put a unique spin on the familiar story by having the audience members pick sides at the beginning of the performance. You get to choose if you belong to the House of Montague (Team Romeo) or the House of Capulet (Team Juliet). You then follow the perspective of the House you belong to, eventually joining together in the scenes that are shared by both Romeo and Juliet.

All performances are FREE to the public and start at 2:00PM. You are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”

“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.” ― William Shakespeare

September 7th & 8th
Allegheny Commons West Park
Ridge Ave, & Arch St., Northside

September 14th & 15th
Arsenal Park
40th & Butler St., Lawrenceville

September 21st & 22nd
Frick Park (Blue Slide Playground)
Beechwood Blvd. & Nicholson St., Squirrel Hill

Not sure what team to be on? Check out:

Manga Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet  by Richard AppignanesiRomeo and Juliet: the Graphic Novel : Plain TextWilliam Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet [videorecording]Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet

* lauren @ CLP Woods Run


Solar S’mores & Pedal Power

Before I got a drivers license, I spent my summers cruising around town on a bike.  It was a gray 10-speed splattered with pink and turquoise paint and I thought it was the coolest.  I loved to speed down the hill next to my house, feet off the pedals, until the day I wiped out on a patch of cinders.  The cinders were dropped by snowplows during winter storms and the street cleaner never seemed able to sweep them all away.  After that, I always kept my feet on the pedals and looked for cinders.  I pedaled to the town pool, the local library, and my friends’ houses.  My friends and I built bonfires in their fields, crafted massive s’mores and ate logs of cookie dough, and stayed up until the stars began to fade.  We’d wake up in dew-covered tents with the smoky scent of campfire still clinging to our hair.

When I moved to Pittsburgh s’mores and bike rides became a thing of the past, as I was nervous about riding on the city’s busy, pockmarked streets and starting a campfire seemed like an easy way to burn down the entire neighborhood.

While I’ve become comfortable riding my bike in the city, thanks to tips from friends and Bike Pittsburgh’s Pittsburgh Bike Map, there still aren’t many s’mores in my life.

Bike Pittsburgh’s Bike Map

That will change this Saturday (8/17) at 3pm during Outside the Lines: STEM + Art.  Abby will teach us how to make solar ovens which we’ll use to make s’mores!  No campfire or BBQ needed, just the power of the sun!  Let Abby know if you’re planning to join her for this awesome experiment.

solar oven

Solar Oven!

Ride your bike to the Library this week (we have bike racks in front and in the parking garage!) and make solar s’mores with us!

Here are some of my favorite bike-themed books and movies and, of course, a book about s’mores!



Steelers Training Camp


I know that everyone is excited about the Pittsburgh Pirates and the amazing season they are having so far.  I was tempted to write about them, but I don’t want to take the risk that I might jinx things and cause another late season fade.  So, instead I will stick with the NFL and the Steelers!  I always love when the Steelers start training camp because I get to see highlights of Saint Vincent College in beautiful Latrobe, PA.  As a proud SVC grad it is cool to see my college on the news every night. 

Plus, Sports Illustrated writer Peter King called it his favorite training camp location.  The Steelers will be at Saint Vincent until Saturday, August 17th.  All the practices that are open to the public will be held from 3-5 in the afternoon.  There will be one night practice on Wednesday, August 14th from 5:30-7:30.  If you go to Latrobe I recommend the wings at Sharkey’s Cafe.  They are awesome, plus there is always a chance that you might see some of the Steelers there too!

As far as the actual NFL action looks, here are some my top thoughts and predictions about the upcoming season.  Sorry to all the Steelers fans out there, but I don’t see them making the Super Bowl this year.


Playoff teams: Patriots, Steelers, Texans, Broncos, Colts (wild card), Bengals (wild card)


Playoff Teams: Giants, Packers, Falcons, 49ers, Lions (wild card), Saints (wild card)


Super Bowl: Falcons over Broncos

Teen Review-Knit the Bridge Feature

jessicaHi! My name is Jessica and I am a literary artist at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12. I am currently in 11th grade and my favorite type of writing is poetry, although fiction comes in as a close second. I like to think that I’m a professional friendship bracelet maker and I also enjoy knitting. I enjoy reading very much and find myself to be most content when I am curled up with a book and a cup of tea.

Knitting is something that only your grandmother does…right? Not anymore! Just when you were thinking that knitting (and crocheting) could never be cool, an amazing art installation project called Knit the Bridge is coming along to prove you wrong.

So what exactly is Knit the Bridge anyways? Knit the Bridge is a community-led project with the hope of bringing communities together to all participate in an amazing final project of yarn bombing the Andy Warhol bridge downtown. Normally, yarn bombing is done on a small scale, usually on trees or monuments, but Knit the Bridge is taking it a step farther and covering an entire bridge with beautiful hand knitted or crocheted panels. They have somewhere around 600 panels, all donated and made by community groups or just by single members of the community. All of the panels are unique in their own ways, representing the diversity that Knit the Bridge wants to capture.

The project has had people working for a little over a year now and everyone involved is very dedicated to the project. In fact, there is currently a gallery over in East Liberty where Knit the Bridge has assembled a headquarters of sorts before their installation date. It is called the Spinning Plate gallery and it is covered with all the knitted panels and houses a workshop as the group continues to prepare for the yarn bombing. I encourage you to go and take a look and see what they are all about, even if you cannot knit or crochet.

One of the best parts of this project has been its ability to bring people together. As I have participated in it, I’ve met many new people and even learned to knit, something I couldn’t do before. I never realized how much fun knitting could be, but when you are surrounded by great people who are all very dedicated to something, there is so much good energy that it helps you become a better person.

The bridge is set to be covered on August 10th and 11th and will be taken down September 7th and 8th. The group has gathered a huge amount of volunteers to help them affix the panels to the bridge, including the railings and towers. Now you may be wondering how all of these blanket size panels will be put to use after serving their time on the bridge, but worry not because they are going to be used for a good cause. The panels will be taken down, laundered, and donated to local homeless shelters to be used as blankets.

I believe very strongly in this project and what they are trying to accomplish. Not only will the bridge be beautiful, but it will bring a spark of color to the Pittsburgh city and showcase the artwork of so many people. There’s something about a bunch of people coming together and participating in something for a good cause that is sort of magical in its own way and it gives off a great feeling. Hopefully this bridge will draw national or even global attention, but even if it doesn’t, it will be a masterpiece that all of Pittsburgh will love.

If you are interested in learning more about Knit the Bridge, visit their Facebook page just by searching “Knit the Bridge”, or check out their blog at knitthebridge.wordpress.com.

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