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Forbes returns to helm at library and music hall in Carnegie

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:05 p.m.
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Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall Executive Director Maggie Forbes speaks at the opening of the Carnegie Carnegie's celebration of the 172nd birthday of its namesake, Andrew Carnegie, at the Music Hall in Carnegie on Nov. 15, 2007. The event featured a performance by the Carnegie Mellon University Pipes & Drums band, a showing of WQED's 'On Q' piece on the building by correspondent Tonia Caruso, and dessert and coffee. The library also opened up its Civil War Room for public viewing.

Maggie Forbes will return to the site of her great accomplishment when she re-takes the helm of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, for which she helped raise more than $7 million to save.

Forbes accepted an offer from library officials last week after the search committee recommended her to the board of trustees at its July 31 meeting. Archivist Nate Wyrick had been interim director.

She called on a line from “Don't Cry for Me Argentina” to express her excitement about coming back.

“I can really say, ‘The truth is, I never left you,'” she said. “My heart belongs to the ‘Carnegie Carnegie' — and to Carnegie.”

Library officials are just as eager to have her back.

“We are excited to have Maggie on the team,” said Amanda Sargent, president of the library's board of trustees. “She really made her mark on the library and music hall and the community it serves, and her commitment to both is outstanding.”

Forbes came to the library in 2003 to run the Chartiers Valley Partnership's campaign to restore the facility, which has been designated as a National Landmark. She raised $7.5 million during the course of the campaign and became executive director in 2005. She stepped down in 2011.

“I've been gone almost two years, and I understand that the library and music hall is not the same place I left,” she said.

Forbes said she is excited about the borough's new vitality, ranging from the Carnegie Coffee Co. in the old post office to the Community Development Corp.'s monthly “Crawls” to Off the Wall Theater to the new stationery store, More Than Just Words, on Main Street. She said a vibrant library and music hall are the linchpins of a vibrant Carnegie.

“There's work to be done, but the ACFL&MH is a magical place — a wonderful community library, a gem of a regional performance venue and a national treasure of a Civil War room — all housed in a gorgeous facility that is the heartbeat of an amazing town.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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