Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Old library

Carnegie Library
Tom was seeing the doctor so I stood outside the surgery and sketched the building opposite. This is a former Carnegie library, which has now been converted into a pub and alternative comedy venue. I’ve always been impressed by the Carnegie legacy – when I was a child living in Fiji there was a very grand Carnegie library and I always wondered where the name Carnegie came from. I suppose he was the Bill Gates of his day – becoming the richest man in the world and then in the latter half of his life, spending the money on philanthropic works.


Blogger annie said...

I do like this, Julie. Love the texture and windows. I didn't realize that Carnegie had a library there. We have a number of them in some of our medium-size towns in Texas and are very glad to have them. Might not have them, otherwise.

4/21/2009 5:49 PM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

I think he subsidised about 600 libraries in the UK, (the local people still had to provide some of the running costs etc). Unlike the ones you are familiar with this one only has the words 'public library' on the outside. I don't think the UK has many Carnegie libraries that are named after him. The only reason I knew that this was a Carnegie library was when I went inside and saw a portrait of Andrew Carnegie and a plaque telling the story.

4/21/2009 10:22 PM  
Blogger SLS said...

Most of Carnegie's libraries do not have his name on them. Philadelphia, which received the second largest grant after NYC, built 25 branch libraries funded by Carnegie (the contract required the community to provide the land and 10% of the cost toward annual maintenance and operations). Those lovely buildings all have the branch name over the door (and often a plaque on the inside).

According to wikipedia:
Of the 2,509 such libraries funded between 1883 and 1929, 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 156 in Canada, and others in Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, and Fiji. Very few towns that requested a grant and agreed to his terms were refused. When the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the United States, nearly half of them paid for by Carnegie.

4/22/2009 3:07 PM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

SLS, the only other Carnegie library I've seen (the one in Suva, Fiji) has his name in huge letters on the front - so I thought that was the norm - thanks for putting me right on that.

4/22/2009 4:39 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I usually visit the main library (Carnegie) in Suva when I'm there. It's not set out like modern libraries though. They really need an upgrade. The USP library is better, but they are strict on people talking! what a brilliant idea in those early days though for a philanthropist to set up libraries. Our libraries in Geelong all hve lots of computers these days and Donation in Kind are given far too many old Encyclopaedia sets which are rather boring I think.

4/23/2009 12:07 AM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

The library I remember going to a lot was the Nadi library. I could walk on my own from our house and past the police-station where my father worked. In the end they had to allow me more books than the ticket allowed because I couldn't wait to read the books so I would sit on the police station step on the way back and read. I'd finish the books and have to go back to the library to change them. So I was given special dispensation to have extra books so that I had enough reading material to get home!

4/23/2009 1:11 AM  

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