ERIC Number: EJ711661
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
The "People's University": Our (New) Public Libraries as Sites of Lifelong Learning
Yancey, Kathleen Blake
Change, v37 n2 p12 Mar-Apr 2005
Andrew Carnegie was born in 1835 in Dunfermeline, Scotland. Forty-six years later and on his way to becoming $400 million richer, he returned to the home of his birth and provided it with a new kind of library. Unlike the popular subscription libraries of the time that required patrons to rent books, this new library would lend them for free. It was the first of the 2,509 libraries that Carnegie would help create throughout the English-speaking world--in the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Samoa, as well as on the U.S. mainland. Carnegie was a robber baron--of that there can be no doubt. But the institution of the free library that he did so much to encourage has contributed uniquely and by design to public literacy in this country, both paralleling and complementing the contributions made by schools and colleges. In the United States, libraries, like schools, have served as "information equalizers." Historically, if you were a person of color, a person without means, or a person new to the country, you went to the library to learn to read, to become socialized into a local version of American life, and to acquire the skills and knowledge required to become a citizen.
Heldref Publications, Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, 1319 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802. Web site: http://www.heldref.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Hawaii; New Zealand; Samoa; United Kingdom (Scotland); United States