Donna's Alphabet Challenge: L (September 29, 2013)
Libraries, Part 1
Historical free public libraries either founded by a local Ladies Library Association, or funded by grants from Andrew Carnegie.
DP272-2013 Posted September 29; created ditto from photos taken the preceding week.
The libraries shown are (clockwise from upper left of the four largest images)
1) The Ann Arbor Carnegie Library, only one wall of which still remains. That remnant has been incorporated into the UM North Quad, which now stands on the site of the original library. This library was funded in 1903.
2) The Ladies Library of Ypsilanti. The building began life as a private residence, in 1858. In 1890 it was donated by Mrs. Starkweather, the then resident, to the Ladies Library Association of Ypsilanti to be used for a free public library. It is currently in use for small business offices, but served as Ypsilanti's public library until well into the 20th century.
3) The Howell Carnegie Library, funded in 1902, and still in use, albeit greatly expanded, as the city's public library.
4) The Albion Carnegie Library, funded in 1903, and also still in use for its original purpose.
The center image is a portrait of Carnegie that hangs in the Albion library. The top and bottom strips of smaller images are details or alternate views of the libraries depicted. Full resolution versions of these and other related images are now available here: http://arctangent.smugmug.com/Places-By-Type/Libraries/Public-Libraries-Past-Present/32184101_JgqLpG .
Of all the weekly mini-challenges I've set for myself within the larger alphabet challenge, the subject for this week is dearest to my heart. At a time in our country when few people had the resources to travel or to obtain expensive higher education, free public libraries were trans-formative in the lives of many people. They connected people with a world of ideas far outside their own narrow experiences. They not only helped them achieve their goals, but quite literally expanded what those goals might be. The efforts of groups of far-sighted individuals in the late 19th century, often in the form of local women's groups, and the later financial support by philanthropists, among other sources, most notably Andrew Carnegie, brought libraries not only to large cities, but to small towns. Here are some links about Carnegie's funding of libraries in general, and about Carnegie Libraries in Michigan specifically. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_library and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Carnegie_libraries_in_Michigan. However questionable some of Carnegie's business practices may have been, his astonishing record of philanthropy must surely tip the balance in his favor.
(This photo lives here: http://arctangent.smugmug.com/Dailies/2013-A-Year-in-Photography/27598278_kp7rBx)
arctangentdailyphotosdpd272posted 2013post 256sundayalphabet challengeletter llibrariesladies library associationcarnegie librariespublic librariesphilanthropyandrew carnegieann arborhowellalbionypsilantihistorical19th centuryearly 20th centurymontagecollager10c31v1117