• Laying the corner stone of the Carnegie-funded Brockton Public Library in Brockton, Massachusetts, 1912. Courtesy of the Brockton Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    Laying corner stone of public library May 15, 1912 Corner White
    • Date
    • 1912-05-15
    • Rights
    • No known copyright restrictions. No known restrictions on use.
    • Partner
    • Digital Commonwealth
    • Contributing Institution
    • Brockton Public Library

  • Students reading newspapers and writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Carnegie Library, 1913. Courtesy of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro via the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

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    Students in Carnegie Library
    • Date
    • 1913
    • Description
    • This 1913 photograph shows students in the Carnegie Library reading newspapers and writing. This building, a gift of steel baron Andrew Carnegie, was designed by Hook & Sawyer of Charlotte. It opened in 1905 as the Carnegie Library and was expanded i... more
      This 1913 photograph shows students in the Carnegie Library reading newspapers and writing. This building, a gift of steel baron Andrew Carnegie, was designed by Hook & Sawyer of Charlotte. It opened in 1905 as the Carnegie Library and was expanded in 1922-1923. The building was partially destroyed by fire on September 15, 1932, and was enlarged during its reconstruction. The Library reopened in 1933. The books were moved to the new library in 1950 and the building was extensively renovated for classroom use. In 1957, the building was named for Edward Jacob Forney, School treasurer and chair of the Commercial Department from 1892 to 1940. less
    • Rights
    • Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG University Libraries. NO COPYRIGHT - UNITED STATES. This item has been determined to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. The user is responsible for determin... more
      Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, UNCG University Libraries. NO COPYRIGHT - UNITED STATES. This item has been determined to be free of copyright restrictions in the United States. The user is responsible for determining actual copyright status for any reuse of the material. less
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
    • Partner
    • North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • Carnegie Library of Atlanta bulletins, 1902-1905. Courtesy of HathiTrust.

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    Carnegie Library bulletin
    • Date
    • 1902-1905
    • Creator
    • Carnegie Library of Atlanta.
    • Description
    • Title from caption.
    • Rights
    • Public domain. Learn more at http://www.hathitrust.org/access_use
    • Partner
    • HathiTrust
    • Contributing Institution
    • New York Public Library.

  • A 1917 photo of the reading room at the South Pasadena Public Library, built in 1908 with funding from Andrew Carnegie. Courtesy of the South Pasadena Public Library via California Digital Library.

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    South Pasadena Public Library Reading Room, ca. 1917
    • Date
    • ca. 1917
    • Creator
    • Bowman, Edgar L., 1870?-1945?
    • Description
    • The South Pasadena Public Library, built in 1908 with a donation from Andrew Carnegie, was expanded in 1917 with an additional $6,600 grant. The expansion included stack rooms, a sun room and a basement auditorium.
    • Rights
    • Unknown. Copyright status is unknown. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor ... more
      Unknown. Copyright status is unknown. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. less
    • Partner
    • California Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • South Pasadena Public Library

By 1920—less than 150 years after Benjamin Franklin first donated what would become a town's first public library collection—there were more than 3,500 public libraries in the United States. This rapid expansion of the US public library can be traced back to another American man's donation—steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie's funding had built about half of these 3,500 public libraries, earning him the nickname, the "Patron Saint of Libraries."

Carnegie funded the building of 2,509 "Carnegie Libraries" worldwide between 1883 and 1929. Of those, 1,795 were in the United States: 1,687 public libraries and 108 academic. Others were built throughout Europe, South Africa, Barbados, Australia, and New Zealand. The last Carnegie Library grant in the US was issued in 1919.