Andrew Carnegie Free Library's executive director returns


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Maggie Forbes is once again the executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, the 112-year-old historic building atop Library Hill in Carnegie.

Following a search committee's recommendation, Ms. Forbes' appointment was approved by the library's board of trustees July 31. Monday was her first day on the job.

She had held the post from 2005 until 2011, when she resigned and subsequently took a job with the Hill House Association.

She first came to the library in 2003 after the Chartiers Valley Partnership tapped her to handle a restoration campaign aimed at revitalizing the grand old building.

"We are excited to have Maggie on the team," said Amanda Sargent, library board of trustees president, in a press release.

"She really made her mark on the library and music hall and the community it serves, and her commitment to both is outstanding. The board and staff look forward to where we will go together."

Ms. Forbes is equally enthusiastic.

"I love the place. It's where my heart lies," she said.

"My mind's been churning since I accepted the offer. But there is a strong sense of this being the right thing to do."

Wearing a vibrant purple summer dress and her trademark smile, Ms. Forbes was in the audience at Carnegie Council's Aug. 12 meeting to express her delight about returning as administrator.

She plans first to sit down with Nate Wyrick, the library interim director, and Lynne Cochran, the music hall director, "to learn the new lay of the land."

After that, she said, "Getting the ACFL&MH back on its feet financially is everyone's top priority, so the first task is a deep dive into the numbers."

To aid her in this effort, Diane Klinefelter has agreed to return part time to assist her. Ms. Klinefelter also has experience as executive director, having served in that capacity after Ms. Forbes left in 2011 until her own retirement in March 2012.

She also is a Civil War historian and the author of two related books.

According to the press release, Ms. Forbes' "top priority is to work with the board and staff to stabilize finances and reinvigorate ACFL&MH operations, then to finish the campaign to restore the building."

Under her direction, the previous capital campaign raised $7.5 million.

Built with money provided by the late industrialist Andrew Carnegie, the facility is one of just four endowed Carnegie libraries built in the U.S. It is Allegheny County's fifth-oldest Carnegie Library.

neigh_west

Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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