January 19, 2022

Report: “Andrew Carnegie Built 1,700 Public Libraries. But Some Towns Refused the Steel Baron’s Money”

From The Washington Post:

Carnegie’s support for libraries reflected a genuine belief in their educational and cultural importance that stemmed from his own experience as an immigrant youth in Pittsburgh, historian Wayne Wiegand said. The need was great.

Libraries were often afterthoughts, located in abandoned churches or empty storefronts. In Chatfield, Minn., [historian George S.] Bobinski wrote, the library shared space with a public restroom whose matron doubled as the librarian.

The money came with strings. Wiegand said communities had to provide the land and commit to supporting the library in perpetuity with revenue equal to 10 percent of the grant. Carnegie’s $40 million went only to English-speaking nations — Bobinski notes that an additional $16 million was donated to build 830 libraries in other countries.

Read the Complete Article (approx 1200 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.