Thursday, October 9, 2014

Andrew Carnegie, Toronto and Libraries

Fredrick H. Armstrong, Toronto: The Place of Meeting; Windsor Pub. 1983
Internationally renown philanthropist Andrew Carnegie arrives to an official welcome at the Toronto City Hall in April 1906. Five years before, money was so tight the Library Board was forced to sue the city for funds to survive. It was a $350,000 Carnegie grant that saved the system. A few years later, a Carnegie grant opened the new library at College and St George- now the U of T book store. Below Queen and Lisgar.

The Carnegie foundation built a total of 2509 libraries in cities and towns in several countries. In hundreds of small towns in the US at the beginning of the 20th C, the library was the most substantial building in the community. The one below in Madison, Maine was built in 1912 and is still serving the community a hundred years later.

Postcard showing the world’s first ever ‘Carnegie Library’ that was opened on the 29th August 1883 in Dunfermline, funded by Andrew Carnegie. It was designed by Edinburgh architect James Campbell Walker who also designed the nearby City Chambers. Its opening was regarded as the most significant local event of that year and a public holiday was declared. The facilities included a library room, ladies and gentlemen's reading rooms, a recreation room, a smoking room and a flat for the librarian.

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