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Andrew Carnegie’s decision to help library construction developed through his 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 within the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create. Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but had to stop after only 36 months. The rapid industrialization with the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father from business. Because of this, the family sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Carnegie’s decision to help library construction developed through his 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 within the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.helpful resources Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but had to stop after only 36 months. The rapid industrialization with the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father from business. Because of this, the family sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to check out work, his learning failed to end. Right after a year at a textile factory, he was a messenger boy to your local telegraph company. A number of his fellow messengers introduced him to Col. James Anderson of Allegheny, who every Saturday opened his personal library to any young worker who wished to borrow a book. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows during which the sunlight of information streamed. In 1853, after the colonel’s representatives aimed to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter towards editor for the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the right of most working boys to experience the pleasures in the library. More vital, he resolved that, should he be wealthy, he makes similar opportunities provided to other poor workers.

During the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune which will enable him to satisfy that pledge. Throughout his years like a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the ability of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts when using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he visited work on age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent of this Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh division. He simultaneously invested in numerous other businesses, including railroad locomotives, oil, and iron and steel. In 1865, Carnegie left the railroad to manage the Keystone Bridge Company, which has been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. With the 1870s he was being focused on 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 begun to consider how to handle his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, where he stated that wealthy men should do without extravagance, provide moderately for dependents, and distribute most of their riches to help the welfare and happiness from the common man–aided by the consideration that will help just those who would help themselves. The Ideal Fields for Philanthropy, his second essay, listed seven fields in 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 gifts that promoted scientific research, the actual spread of information, and also the promotion of world peace. Several organizations always this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in New York City, as an example ,, helps support Sesame Street.

As a result of his background, Carnegie was particularly excited about public libraries. At one point he stated a library was the best possible gift to obtain a community, as it gave people the capability to improve themselves. His confidence was depending on the results of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, to illustrate, a library distributed by Enoch Pratt were definitely applied by 37,000 people in one year. Carnegie thought that the relatively few public library patrons were more value on their community as opposed to the masses who chose to not ever benefit from the library.

Carnegie divided his donations to libraries in to the retail and wholesale periods. During the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities in the United States. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities that include pools and even libraries. With the years after 1896, known as the wholesale period, Carnegie not supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities who had limited admission to cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were for under $ten thousand. Although the majority of the towns receiving gifts were while in the Midwest, as a whole 46 states benefited from Carnegie’s plan.

Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction right after a report designed 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 to get really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings were provided, but this time the time had come to staff them 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 considered library education.

When Andrew Carnegie died in 1919 at age 84, he had given nearly one-fourth of his life to causes in which he believed. His gifts to numerous charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a technique to boost people’s lives, and libraries provided an example 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. Simply how much formal education did Carnegie have? What factors contributed to his interest on books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people must do utilizing their money? Why did he believe? Do you really 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, Over the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).

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