The Carnegie Library in Eureka Springs has been celebrating its centennial this year with special events.
This picture does not show the stairway up from the street, which makes the stone building more imposing. (Though not very accessible in its original design, the library now has an elevator from the street level that bypasses the steep stairway. )
Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy led to the construction of 1,689 libraries in The United States; a town receiving such a grant had to provide the site, submit its design for approval, and agree to support the library with funding. (Other countries also received library grants.)
Books and libraries were an important part of Carnegie's life, beginning with his childhood in Scotland. There he listened to readings and discussions of books from the Tradesman's Subscription Library, which his father helped create. Later, in the United States, while working for the local telegraph company in Allegheny, PA, Carnegie borrowed books from the personal library of Colonel James Anderson, who opened the collection to his workers every Saturday. In his autobiography, Carnegie credited Anderson with providing an opportunity for "working boys"to acquire the knowledge to improve themselves.
I wish I had more pictures of the interior of the Eureka Springs library, which features wood paneling and has a cozy charm. A person entering the door faces this fireplace with a portrait of Carnegie.
Is it a little strange to visit a city and check out the library? Maybe so! The words 'Carnegie Library' still evoke, for me, the sense of richness and delight that struck me the first time I entered the sunny Children's Room of The Carnegie Library in Ft. Smith, with its gleaming wood floors and huge windows.