P.O. Box 1041

                                                                                                Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

                                                                                                Telephone: 412-561-7876

                                                                                                Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@andrewcarnegie.cc >

                                                                                                Internet Web Site: < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >

                                                                                                2008 April 22


Maggie Forbes, Executive Director/Campaign Manager

Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall

300 Beechwood Avenue

Carnegie, Pennsylvania 15106-2699


Dear Maggie:


Today, 2008 April 22, marks the 106th anniversary of the official dedication, by Library Donor Andrew Carnegie, of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall. As has been my custom over the last several years, today is the day I provide my annual monetary donation to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall of one dollar for each year following the official dedication. Enclosed, please find my personal check for $106, made out to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library.


Congratulations on the $100,000 grant the Library received last month from the Allegheny Foundation. It is my hope that this money will be used to truly restore the historic integrity of both the interior and the exterior the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall.


Thank you for your letter of May 18, which answered some the questions I had earlier posed. Regarding rehabilitation of the Music Hall you wrote, “We will almost certainly, refurbish and keep some Music Hall seats for historic purposes. However, our intention is to operate the Music Hall as a vibrant performance venue that generates revenue. We are making remarkable strides in that direction. Comfortable seating designed for 21st century proportions is essential to that end.”


I am happy to learn that you understand the historical significance of the original Music Hall seats, with their rack under each seat designed to hold a gentleman’s hat.  With this important history, it should seem obvious that historical integrity of the Music Hall requires rehabilitating and keeping nearly all of the original mahogany seats, as this is the history that most specifically affects the public when they attend an event in the Music Hall.


As Mark Fatla, former Executive Director of the Community Technical Assistance Center, pointed-out some years ago, the Braddock Carnegie Library maintained the historical integrity of their seats while innovatively enlarging the seats, using spacers, to provide for the 21st century proportions you mention. Reupholstering the seats, with the addition of permanent cushions, would make the seats as comfortable as contemporary, generic seats.


The point is that the Music Hall is, and always will be, a small venue. It started with 800 seats in 1901; the Music Hall had 788 seats during my tenure as a Library Life Trustee. Seating has been reduced further with the addition of an area in the balcony for wheelchairs. Further reductions may be necessary, during the Music Hall rehabilitation to provide for greater leg room.


A 650-seat Music Hall, by itself, will have a limited appeal in drawing an audience, particularly if an audience can only expect contemporary, generic seating as found in high school auditoriums.








Maggie Forbes                                     2008 April 22                                      Page 2 of 2




In any enterprise, differentiation is the key to successfully competing for sales. What can differentiate our Music Hall from other venues is the continued use of the historic mahogany seats, rehabilitated and reupholstered for the 21st century! And, of course, using the historic seats as a major selling-point for shows and audiences. This is what was done for the rehabilitation of another venue of similar size and age in 1995: Jordan Hall of Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music.


Attached, I have included a copy of my Library memorandum of 2000 February 1, which goes into more detail regarding rehabilitation of the historic Music Hall seats. I hope that you and the Library Board of Trustees will consider my comments, before agreeing to spend additional money to replace the historic mahogany seats of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Music Hall.


Sincerely yours,




Glenn A. Walsh




Attachment:          Memorandum of 2000 February 1: Restoration of Seating in the Library Music Hall


Copy:                     Board of Trustees, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall

                                Diane Ragan, Library Director, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall