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Andrew Carnegie’s decision to help with library construction developed out from his experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years on the coastal city of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he heard men read aloud and discuss books borrowed out of the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create. Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but needed to stop after only three years. The rapid industrialization in the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father away from business. As a consequence, the family unit sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Carnegie’s decision to help with library construction developed out from his experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years on the coastal city of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he heard men read aloud and discuss books borrowed out of the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.read the article Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but needed to stop after only three years. The rapid industrialization in the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father away from business. As a consequence, the family unit sold their belongings and immigrated to Allegheny, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Although these new circumstances required the young Carnegie to see work, his learning failed to end. After having a year in the textile factory, he was a messenger boy towards the local telegraph company. Some of his fellow messengers introduced him to Col. James Anderson of Allegheny, who every Saturday opened his personal library to the young worker who wished to borrow an ebook. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows whereby the sunshine of knowledge streamed. In 1853, in the event the colonel’s representatives attempted to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter on the editor with the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the most suitable in all working boys have fun with the pleasures of the library. More important, he resolved that, should he ever be wealthy, he will make similar opportunities accessible to other poor workers.

Through the next half-century Carnegie accumulated the fortune which would enable him to meet that pledge. Throughout his years being a messenger, Carnegie had taught himself the skill of telegraphy. This skill helped him make contacts using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he traveled to work on age 18. Throughout his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent with the 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 look after the Keystone Bridge Company, that had been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. Via 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 started to consider how to deal with his immense fortune. In 1889 he wrote a famous essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, where he stated that wealthy men should live without extravagance, provide moderately regarding their dependents, and distribute the remainder of their riches to help the welfare and happiness in the common man–using the consideration that can help only those who will help themselves. The Perfect 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 incorporate gifts that promoted scientific research, the actual spread of information, as well as the promotion of world peace. Many of those organizations continue to keep this day: the Carnegie Corporation in Nyc, to illustrate, helps support Sesame Street.

Owing to his background, Carnegie was particularly excited about public libraries. At one point he stated a library was the very best gift for just a community, given that it gave people the ability to improve themselves. His confidence was depending on results of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, as an example ,, a library provided by Enoch Pratt has been utilized by 37,000 folks one full year. Carnegie believed the relatively small number of public library patrons were of more value with their community when compared to the masses who chose never to take advantage of the library.

Carnegie divided his donations to libraries into the retail and wholesale periods. Over 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 not to mention libraries. During the years after 1896, referred to as the wholesale period, Carnegie will no longer supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities who had limited accessibility to cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were for less than $ten thousand. Although many of the towns receiving gifts were during the Midwest, as a whole 46 states taken advantage of Carnegie’s plan.

Andrew Carnegie stopped making gifts for library construction carrying out a report made to him by Dr. Alvin Johnson, an economics professor. In 1916 Dr. Johnson visited 100 on the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report figured that to remain really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings was provided, the good news is the time had come to staff them pros who would stimulate active, efficient libraries into their communities. Libraries already promised continued to generally be 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 by which he believed. His gifts to several charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a technique to enhance people’s lives, and libraries provided one among his main tools that will help Americans build a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both when he was young, and later on? 2. Just how much formal education did Carnegie have? What factors contributed to his involvement with books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people must do making use of their money? Why did he think 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, At 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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