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Carnegie library lunch book talk series begins with 9/11 author

| Friday, March 24, 2017, 11:35 p.m.

Angels will be the topic for the opening talk of the 2017 Brown Bag Lunch Lecture series at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie.

Lillie Leonardi, author of “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Memoir About Flight 93, a Field of Angels, and My Spiritual Homecoming” will be the speaker at noon April 5 at the library, 300 Beechwood Ave.

Leonardi is a former community outreach specialist for the Pittsburgh Division of the FBI who worked at the United Flight 93 crash site near Shanksville after the 9/11 attacks. In her book, she describes seeing “what appeared to be a legion of angels” shortly after she arrived at the site.

The free monthly lecture series runs from April through December, library director Diane Klinefelter said. Attendees may bring a lunch, and the library provides coffee, tea and water.

She said she thinks Leonardi's talk will have wide appeal.

“I've noticed in circulation, people are looking for spiritual uplifting in the books they are choosing,” Klinefelter said.

Leonardi's Flight 93 book and her second book, “The White Light of Grace: Reflections on the Life of a Spiritual Intuitive,” will be on sale at the talk.

Klinefelter, who also is the curator of the library's historic Capt. Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic, will be the May speaker. Her topic will be “Through Lincoln's Eyes,” and she will explore some of the photographs in the library's Lincoln Gallery.

She said she is trying something new for this talk, which will be at noon May 10; a lunch will be available for $4 for those who want to purchase one. It will include an entrée, beverage and dessert. People who want to purchase lunch must RSVP in advance by calling the library at 412-276-3456, ext. 2. Those who don't want to purchase lunch still may bring their own.

On June 24, Ken Kobus, author of “City of Steel: How Pittsburgh Became the World's Steelmaking Capital During the Carnegie Era,” is scheduled to speak.

“It's a nice intimate program, and we allow enough time for people to have some one-on-one time,” Klinefelter said.

Usually, the talk lasts 45 minutes, with 15 minutes after for questions. But the speaker usually stays as long as people have questions, she said.

Leonardi, 60, a former city of Arnold police officer, said people are more comfortable talking about angels now than they were when she was younger.

When she asks audience members at her talks how many believe in angels, more than 90 percent generally raise their hands, Leonardi said.

“I just look forward to sharing my story and hope it's comfortable and relatable enough for others to share their own stories,” she said.

Madelyn Dinnerstein is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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