b'ANDREW CARNEGIE THE CARNEGIE CLUBThis page, from top: the letter Carnegie wrote to himself; Carnegie the scholar. Opposite, from left: Dunfermline public library; Carnegie outside Falkirk libraryBy this two years I can so arrange allHE SAW RE ADING A S A KE Y my business as to secure at least 50,000 per annum. Beyond this neverTO OL FOR SELF\x1fIMPROVEMENT, earnmake no effort to increaseINCLUDING HIS OWNfortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes. Castmuch learning by rote, but his love of literature was sparked by his aside business forever except foruncle, George Lauder, who regaled the young Andy with tales from others. Settle in Oxford and getScottish history and gave him a love of Robbie Burns and Sir Walter a thorough education, making theScott that survived the familys voyage to America in 1848 to settle in acquaintance of literary men. ThisAllegheny City (now part of Pittsburgh).will take three years active work Books in the New World, as elsewhere, were the preserve of the pay especial attention to speaking inelite. They were expensive to purchase and private libraries charged an public. Settle then in London & [take]annual subscription that was beyond most peoples pocket. In his a part in public matters especiallyautobiography, Carnegie praises Colonel James Anderson, who had those connected with education &bequeathed his library of 2,000 volumes to the city of Allegheny as a improvement of the poorer classes. private lending library, but with the stipulation that every Saturday apprenticed working boys would be able to take out and return ST NICHOLAS HOTEL, N YORK\x1cTHIRTY\x1cTHREE AND AN INCOME OF $50,000 PER ANNUM2 2 2 3His pamphlets alone fill five bound volumes at the Carnegie Library inbooks for free. However, not being bound by an apprenticeship Pittsburgh, starting in 1881. But he proposed his first public library Pittsburgh. He was also a dedicated, lifelong epistolarian, penningthe 17 year old was working as a telegraph messenger and operatorin his hometown of Dunfermline in 1879. This was at the end of the letters to presidents and politicians from Grant to Gladstone, and to Carnegie was excluded and was liable for the two-dollar annual fee.year-long sojourn that became his first book, Notes of a Trip Round fellow writers such as Mark Twain and Matthew Arnold.So, he wrote to the Pittsburgh Dispatch, urging that the pool of thosethe World. The library eventually opened in 1883 and provided But probably the most important letter Carnegie created waswho were eligible be expanded to include him. The letter wasthe paradigm for all future Carnegie libraries: he would build it actually a memo to himself (recreated above), when, in Decemberpublished and the Anderson librarian agreed that Carnegie couldif the local authorities would agree to staff and run it and, most 1868, rich but dissatisfied at the age of 33, he laid out what was toborrow a book a week for free. The lesson was learned: Carnegieimportantly, keep it free. Library images courtesy of the Andrew CarnegieBirthplace Museum, Dunfermlinebecome the defining philosophy of the second part of his life: it ishad taken his first steps in becoming a man of letters. His contribution to book borrowing worldwide is why the beholden to the wealthy to use their fortunes for the greater good.Carnegie also came to appreciate that his hard-won erudition wasChartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Not all of this came to pass. He did not retreat from business;a powerful tool in business. He often used a suitable quote from Burnsnamed their prize for best childrens book after him (first Carnegie in fact, the steel magnate years and the richest man in the worldor Shakespeare to support an argument or intimidate a less well-readMedal winner in 1936: Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post). tag were still to come. There would be no Oxford or London, butrival. In his autobiography he urged young men not to confineHow many libraries owe their existence to him? Estimates the benevolent purposes and improvement of the poorer classesthemselves to practical books about their chosen profession, but tovary, but A Manual of the Public Benefactions of Andrew Carnegie, became the guiding lights of the latter part of his life. read the gems of literature, which find a ready and profitable marketpublished by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (a cause Why, though, did Carnegie choose libraries as one of the majorin the industrial world. They sell high among men of affair, as I foundfor which he campaigned tirelessly in the early 20th century) in 1919, tools of his largesse? Because he saw reading as a key tool forwith my small stock of knowledge.the year of his death, stated he or his Carnegie Corporation had self-improvement, including his own. As one can tell from the memo,Carnegie began his campaign to bring these gems of literaturefunded 2,811 of them, including one in Liverpool that introduced his education was a paramount concern and had been since a young(a phrase he used when commissioning the library at Skibo in 1900)another young lad to the gems of literature and the possibility of age. His schooling as a child in Dunfermline had been basic, withto his workers by opening reading rooms at his mills in and aroundbecoming a professional writer. '