For Rachel Moore, The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is everything she imagines a library to be. And she’s ready and poised to help it grow into an even bigger community hub that connects people throughout Carnegie and beyond.
“What an exciting, wonderful space that this community has been gifted and has ownership over,” she said. “This building belongs to the people of Carnegie. It’s theirs. How exciting is that?”
Moore, 27, started as the library’s new director Sept. 16. She takes over a role vacated when former library director Mary Menk left this summer to pursue a nursing career.
Moore, who received her bachelor’s degree in history from Allegheny College in 2014, spent several years after graduation working various jobs, from managing a hair salon to working as a nanny, while she figured out what she wanted to do next.
It was while giving horseback riding lessons to her high school librarian’s son that the Plum school librarian suggested she go into the field.
“I was like, ‘Wait, I could be you?’ It didn’t occur to me that I could do that,” Moore said.
A self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Moore has always loved reading. She has fond memories of going to the library as a child with her mom and grandma, and still recalls the day she got her first library card.
“It’s just a really wonderful, safe place for a child,” she said. “I realized pretty quickly that libraries were those magical places where anybody could go in to get access and information.”
Moore headed back to school at the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her master’s degree in library science in 2016.
She was convinced she wanted to be an archivist and work with history. But she realized during a time working with Carnegie Mellon University’s archives that she needed to connect with people and bring them together.
She did an internship at Northland Public Library in youth services.
To this day, her favorite aspect of working in a library is finding a book for a child and getting to be the person to hand it to them.
After earning a master’s degree, Moore took a job as the outreach librarian at Western Allegheny Community Library in Oakdale. There, she drove a book bus to bring story time to preschools and day cares in what she says was “a truly magical job.”
She was promoted to the head of youth services, a role she held until coming to Carnegie.
Moore was looking for more of a leadership role.
She always loved Carnegie. She and her mom enjoy driving through to look at its old houses.
“It just feels like the Pittsburgh that I grew up with — just a really tiny town with a lot of heart,” Moore said.
A “big dreamer,” Moore has a lot of ideas for the library.
She plans to work with community partners and connect the library even more with the area.
Moore wants to start collaborating with Crafton library to offer shared programming and services, while working with the Carlynton School District.
She also wants to increase accessibility to the immigrant and refugee populations that have moved into the area, showing that the library is a safe place.
She strives to create programs that people need.
“I’m trying really hard to instill in everybody who comes into the library or works in the library, I am a public servant, as is everybody who works in this building,” Moore said. “So, we’re here to meet the needs of the public.”
She wants to build on the in-house collaboration with the music hall and other gems located right inside the building.
Maggie Forbes, executive director, said Moore stood out for her “real passion” for community building and desire to use the library as an agent to connect the community.
She pointed out how Moore is a lifelong learner.
“She embodies that. That’s how’s how she lives her life and that’s our mission,” Forbes said, adding that Moore has already gotten to work on many collaborations.
“She has a combination of poise and effervescence,” Forbes said. “This is an excellent opportunity for her and an excellent opportunity for us.”