& Information Center
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Carnegie Library in Teddington, England was built in 1906 in Edwardian Baroque style A Carnegie library, opened in 1916 in Grass Valley, California, designed in Neoclassical architecture.Carnegie libraries are libraries which were built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. More than 2,500 Carnegie libraries were built, including some belonging to public and university library systems. Carnegie earned the nickname Patron Saint of Libraries.Of the 2,509 such libraries funded between 1883 and 1929, 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, and Fiji. Very few towns that requested a grant and agreed to his terms were refused. When the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the United States, nearly half of them built with construction grants paid by Carnegie.Beginning in the late 19th century, women's clubs organized in the United States, and were critical in identifying the need for libraries, as well as organizing for their construction and long-term financial support through fundraising and lobbying government bodies. Women's clubs were instrumental in the founding of 75-80 percent of the libraries in the United States. Carnegie's grants were catalysts for library construction based on organizing by women's clubs.In the early 20th century, a Carnegie library was often the most imposing structure in hundreds of small American communities from Maine to California. Most of the library buildings were unique, displaying a number of architectural styles, including Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Classical Revival, and Spanish Colonial. Scottish Baronial was one of the styles used in Carnegie's native Scotland. Each style was chosen by the community, although as the years went by James Bertram, Carnegie's secretary, became less tolerant of designs which were not to his taste. The architecture was typically simple and formal, welcoming patrons to enter through a prominent doorway, nearly always accessed via a staircase. The entry staircase symbolized a person's elevation by learning. Similarly, outside virtually every library was a lamppost or lantern to symbolize enlightenment.The first of Carnegie's public libraries opened in his hometown, Dunfermline, Scotland, in 1883. As well as Carnegie's name, the building displays a motto - "Let there be light" - and a carving of the sun over the entrance. His first library in the United States was built in 1889 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, home to one of the Carnegie Steel Company's mills. Initially, Carnegie limited his support to a small number of towns in which he had an interest. From the 1890s on, his foundation funded a dramatic increase in number of libraries.