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May 15

Andrew Carnegie’s decision to assist library construction developed through their own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years inside coastal city of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed from the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create. Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but wanted to stop after only three years. The rapid industrialization of your textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father beyond business. For this reason, the family sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Carnegie’s decision to assist library construction developed through their own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years inside coastal city of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed from the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.see this Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but wanted to stop after only three years. The rapid industrialization of your textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father beyond business. For this reason, the family sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to travel to work, his learning failed to end. Following a year inside a textile factory, he became a messenger boy for the local telegraph company. Several of his fellow messengers introduced him to Col. James Anderson of Allegheny, who every Saturday opened his personal library for any young worker who wished to borrow an ebook. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows where the sunlight of information streamed. In 1853, if your colonel’s representatives tried to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter to your editor on the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the suitable coming from all working boys to savor the pleasures in the library. More vital, he resolved that, should he be wealthy, he makes similar opportunities accessible to other poor workers.

Over the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that are going to enable him to fulfill that pledge. During his years being a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the ability of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts together with the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he went to work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent belonging to the Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in several other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to handle the Keystone Bridge Company, which had been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. With the 1870s he was paying attention to steel manufacturing, ultimately creating the Carnegie Steel Company. In 1901 he sold that business for $250 million.

Carnegie then retired and devoted the remainder of his life to philanthropy. Prior to selling Carnegie Steel he had begun to consider how to deal with his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, wherein he stated that wealthy men should live without extravagance, provide moderately regarding their dependents, and distribute the rest of their riches to help the welfare and happiness of your common man–along with the consideration to help only those would you help themselves. The Most Suitable Fields for Philanthropy, his second essay, listed seven fields which the wealthy should donate: universities, libraries, medical centers, public parks, meeting and concert halls, public baths, and churches. He later expanded this list to add in gifts that promoted scientific research, the normal spread of information, and also the promotion of world peace. A great number of organizations continuously this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in The Big Apple, for instance, helps support Sesame Street.

Due to his background, Carnegie was particularly keen on public libraries. At some point he stated a library was the very best gift to have a community, as it gave people the ability to improve themselves. His confidence was with regards to the results of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, one example is, a library offered by Enoch Pratt ended up being used by 37,000 people in one full year. Carnegie believed that the relatively small number of public library patrons were of more value on their community as opposed to the masses who chose not to take advantage of the library.

Carnegie divided his donations to libraries on the retail and wholesale periods. Within the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities in the states. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities just like pools together with libraries. From the years after 1896, called wholesale period, Carnegie not necessarily supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities which had limited admittance to cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were cheaper than $10,000. Although many of the towns receiving gifts were inside the Midwest, overall 46 states took advantage of Carnegie’s plan.

Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction carrying out a report manufactured to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 for the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report determined that being really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings appeared to be provided, but this time the time had come to staff them with professionals who would stimulate active, efficient libraries in their own communities. Libraries already promised continued to get built until 1923, but after 1919 all financial support was turned to library education.

When Andrew Carnegie died in 1919 at age 84, he had given nearly one-fourth of his life to causes where by he believed. His gifts to varied charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a method to strengthen people’s lives, and libraries provided without doubt one of his main tools for helping Americans establish a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both as he was young, and down the road? 2. What amount of formal education did Carnegie have? What factors led to his curiosity about books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people need to do with their money? Why did he believe that? Should you agree? 4. How did supporting libraries fit with Carnegie’s past along with his beliefs? Reading 1 was compiled from George S. Bobinski, Carnegie Libraries (Chicago: American Library Association, 1969); Andrew Carnegie, Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie, reprint (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1920 1986); Barry Sears, On the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).