Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do We Really Need Libraries?

Andrew Carnegie — in Johnny Appleseed fashion — planted 1,679 library buildings in communities throughout the nation between 1886 and 1919, according to the National Park Service. From Caribou, Maine, to Clarksdale, Miss; from Honolulu to Miles City, Mont.

Many of the structures are grandiloquent cathedrals — edification edifices, little Louvres for the intellect — designed to send the message: Learning is everlasting.

They also gave us the sense that we lived in the United Smarts of America.

Carnegie paid for the construction; the community was charged with providing upkeep and operating costs. Eventually, some of the buildings became obsolete and were repurposed or demolished. Some are still living, breathing libraries.

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