Andrew Carnegie’s decision to assist library construction developed out of his experience. Born in 1835, he spent his first 12 years while in the coastal city of Dunfermline, Scotland. There he heard men read aloud and discuss books borrowed within the Tradesmen’s Subscription Library that his father, a weaver, had helped create.Full Report Carnegie began his formal education at age eight, but simply had to stop after only three years. The rapid industrialization from the textile trade forced small businessmen like Carnegie’s father outside of business. For that reason, the family unit 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 did not end. After a year at a textile factory, he was a messenger boy for those local telegraph company. A bit 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 guide. Carnegie later said the colonel opened the windows through which the light of information streamed. In 1853, when the colonel’s representatives made an effort to restrict the library’s use, Carnegie wrote a letter towards the editor for the Pittsburgh Dispatch defending the suitable of most working boys to have the pleasures belonging to the library. More essential, he resolved that, should he ever be wealthy, he makes similar opportunities open to other poor workers.
Throughout 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 using the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he traveled to just work at age 18. During his 12-year railroad association he rose quickly, ultimately becoming superintendent belonging to 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 regulate the Keystone Bridge Company, which has been successfully replacing wooden railroad bridges with iron ones. With the 1870s he was concentrating 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. Prior to 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 live without extravagance, provide moderately for their dependents, and distribute the remainder of their riches to help the welfare and happiness belonging to the common man–while using consideration to assist only those who will help themselves. The Right 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 incorporate gifts that promoted scientific research, the general spread of knowledge, together with the promotion of world peace. A large number of organizations still this present day: the Carnegie Corporation in The Big Apple, by way of example, helps support Sesame Street.
Due to his background, Carnegie was particularly serious about public libraries. At some point he stated a library was the ideal gift for any community, since it gave people the capability to improve themselves. His confidence was using the outcomes of similar gifts from earlier philanthropists. In Baltimore, to illustrate, a library given by Enoch Pratt has been utilised by 37,000 people in twelve months. Carnegie believed that the relatively small number of public library patrons were of more value on their community than the masses who chose not to ever take pleasure in the library.
Carnegie divided his donations to libraries on 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 United States. These buildings were actually community centers, containing recreational facilities which include private pools in addition to libraries. Within the years after 1896, named the wholesale period, Carnegie never supported urban multipurpose buildings. Instead he gave $39,172,981 to smaller communities who had limited having access to cultural institutions. His gifts provided 1,406 towns with buildings devoted exclusively to libraries. Over half his grants were cheaper than $ten thousand. Although many of the towns receiving gifts were on the Midwest, overall 46 states took advantage of 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 in the existing Carnegie libraries and studied their social significance, physical aspects, effectiveness, and financial condition. His final report determined that to be really effective, the libraries needed trained personnel. Buildings has been provided, but now the time had come to staff them pros who would stimulate active, efficient libraries in their communities. Libraries already promised continued to always 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 through which he believed. His gifts to various charities totalled nearly $350 million, almost 90 % of his fortune. Carnegie regarded all education as a means to elevate people’s lives, and libraries provided just one of his main tools to help Americans make a brighter future. Questions for Reading 1 1. How did progress and industrialization affect Carnegie, both when he was young, and later on? 2. What amount formal education did Carnegie have? What factors contributed to his fascination with books and reading? 3. What did Carnegie believe wealthy people ought to do with the money? Why did he suspect that? Does a person agree? 4. How did supporting libraries match Carnegie’s past and 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, In the Trail of Carnegie Libraries, Antiques and Collecting (February 1994); Gerald R. Shields, Recycling Buildings for Libraries, Public Libraries (March/April 1994).