The Carnegie Library In the early 1900s, steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie began a program to encourage education by financing community libraries across the United States. Carnegie was an immigrant from Scotland who had little education but who realized the importance of education, especially for the stream of immigrants who lacked sufficient education to compete in the American job market. His public program furnished libraries for thousands of communities across the country.
My first experience with a library was when I was learning to read and my dad and I climbed the many stairs of this imposing building on the corner of West Center and East Garfield. This Carnegie Library, built around 1907 from a 1906 grant, was one of ten in our state and cost $12,000 to build at that time. In the late 1950's it was vacated for a larger, more modern building on the east side of town. The newer building was only three blocks from St. Anthony School where I attended elementary and once a week I was one of the few bookish types who could walk there and back alone, loaded with books. Thus began my life long love affair with books and libraries. Returning to Idaho on occasion I've re-visited the new, even larger library that was built in 1994 on the original site, attached to the original Carnegie Library. It still smells the same to me.
[photos & facts from Idaho Museum of Natural History]
Many years later I am still a user and browser and haunter of libraries in every city I've lived in or visited. There's the massive urban library I'd visit in Chicago and the tiny Village Library in Jacobus, Pennsylvania where I read for story time. Once smitten, I'm always able to sniff out a library wherever I go. So I tip my hat to Andrew Carnegie!
Today's letter for ABC Wednesday is 'L' --for me it spells l-i-b-r-a-r-y.