By the 1990s, nearly all of the 1,795 Carnegie-funded library buildings in the US were still standing. More than half were still being used as libraries, some with the spaces intact, others with new additions and expansions added to the original building, but all still serving the public in the same manner that Carnegie envisioned. Some of the other Carnegie buildings had been converted for other public purposes like community centers or museums.
The impact of Carnegie's funding on the US library system is far-reaching even now, over one hundred years since the first Carnegie library opened to the public. These libraries remain central branches in cities like New York and Pittsburgh (who named their public library system as a whole after Carnegie). In particular, they helped often underserved, lower income communities connect with important public services.
Carnegie's libraries have made an impact on a personal level, too. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his memoir about going to the local Carnegie Library in Savannah, Georgia, as a boy, and studying there as a young man. That particular Carnegie Library, founded by the local Colored Library Association, opened in 1914, giving African American patrons a place they could access books decades before the library system integrated in 1963. When the original library re-opened in 2004 (refurbished after it closed in 1997), Thomas was the keynote speaker and recalled that, for him, the Carnegie librarians "made it all possible."