Andrew Carnegie’s decision to support library construction developed using his personal experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years on the coastal city of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed within 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 3 years. The rapid industrialization in the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father out from business. Because of this, the household sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to go to work, his learning did not end. After the year within a textile factory, he became a messenger boy for those local telegraph company. Many 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 a magazine. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows through which the lighting of information streamed. In 1853, whenever the colonel’s representatives made an effort to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter to your editor within the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the perfect of all of the working boys to experience the pleasures of this library. More essential, he resolved that, should he ever be wealthy, he will make similar opportunities available to other poor workers.

Across the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that may enable him to fulfill that pledge. Throughout his years as an effective messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the skill of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts with all the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he went to just work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent within the Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in a number of other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to take care of 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. Even before selling Carnegie Steel he had started to consider how to deal with his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, that he stated that wealthy men should do without extravagance, provide moderately with their dependents, and distribute most of their riches to profit the welfare and happiness from the common man–with the consideration that can help just those would you help themselves. The Very Best Fields for Philanthropy, his second essay, listed seven fields that 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 actual spread of knowledge, plus the promotion of world peace. Most of these organizations carry on and this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in Nyc, one example is, helps support Sesame Street.

By reason of his background, Carnegie was particularly looking into public libraries. At some time he stated a library was the absolute best gift for the community, because it gave people the chance to improve themselves. His confidence was according 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 folks 1 year. Carnegie considered that the relatively few public library patrons were of more value to their own community compared to masses who chose to not ever take pleasure in the library.

Carnegie divided his donations to libraries in to 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 america. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities that include pools together with libraries. In your years after 1896, called wholesale period, Carnegie no more supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities which had limited use of cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were for under $10,000. Although almost all of the towns receiving gifts were during the Midwest, in total 46 states benefited from Carnegie’s plan.

Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction after a report intended to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 within the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report figured that to be really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings appeared to be provided, but this time the time had come to staff these people with pros who would stimulate active, efficient libraries of their communities. Libraries already promised continued to become 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 during which he believed. His gifts to several charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 percent of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a way to improve people’s lives, and libraries provided undoubtedly one of his main tools to support Americans develop 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. Exactely how much formal education did Carnegie have? What factors contributed to his interest on books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people have to do with their money? Why did he reckon that? Will you agree? 4. How did supporting libraries match Carnegie’s past and his awesome 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, At the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994). In fact, the write my essays with 39,000-student lincoln district in nebraska and the 6,000-student mooresville graded district in north carolina are engaging in similar efforts