Andrew Carnegie’s decision to aid library construction developed using his own experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years on the coastal town of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he listened to men read aloud and discuss books borrowed via the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.continue reading this Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but were required to stop after only 36 months. The rapid industrialization in the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father through business. For this reason, the household sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie pay a visit to work, his learning failed to end. After having a year within a textile factory, he was a messenger boy towards 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 a manuscript. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows where light of knowledge streamed. In 1853, in the event the colonel’s representatives tried to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter with the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the proper of the working boys to have enjoyment from the pleasures from the library. More essential, he resolved that, should he ever be wealthy, he makes similar opportunities suitable to other poor workers.
Over the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune that is going to enable him to fulfill that pledge. Throughout his years as a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the skill of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts because of the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he went to work at age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent on 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 look after the Keystone Bridge Company, this was 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. Before selling Carnegie Steel he had started to consider what to do 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 the rest of their riches to profit the welfare and happiness of this common man–when using the consideration to assist just those would you 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 provide gifts that promoted scientific research, the general spread of knowledge, and also the promotion of world peace. A lot of these organizations continue to keep this very 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 some point he stated a library was the perfect gift to obtain a community, because it gave people the opportunity improve themselves. His confidence was according to the outcomes of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, as an example, a library provided by Enoch Pratt ended up applied by 37,000 folks one full year. Carnegie believed the relatively few public library patrons were of more value for their community as opposed to masses who chose to not ever take advantage of the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries inside the retail and wholesale periods. Throughout the retail period, 1886 to 1896, he gave $1,860,869 for 14 endowed buildings in six communities in north america. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities for example private pools and libraries. Inside the years after 1896, known as wholesale period, Carnegie never supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities that had limited access 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 almost all towns receiving gifts were within the Midwest, overall 46 states benefited from Carnegie’s plan.
Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction after a report created to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 of your existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report determined that to end up being really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings was provided, however right now it was time to staff these people with experts who would stimulate active, efficient libraries in their communities. Libraries already promised continued to remain 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 whereby he believed. His gifts to several charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a way to increase people’s lives, and libraries provided undoubtedly one of his main tools to assist Americans create a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both when he was young, and down the road? 2. What amount of formal education did Carnegie have? What factors contributed to his need for books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people must do making use of their money? Why did he think that? Do you really agree? 4. How did supporting libraries fit with Carnegie’s past and the 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, About the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).