Making it more inconvenient for people to use public libraries is tragic. For some people, the library may be the only place where they have access to computers. For voracious readers, the library helps keep a healthy reading habit affordable. For most anyone, it offers the chance to broaden one's horizons, discover new things, and better oneself.
[Photo: My favorite New York City Public Library Branch-- Jefferson Market]
Most importantly, however, was the announcement by Colonel James Anderson that he would open his private library (of 400 books) to "the boys" working in the telegraph office. These young men were allowed to take a book each Saturday and exchange it for another one the following Saturday. Carnegie took full advantage of this offer, reading constantly to improve his mind. Later in life, Carnegie still felt such gratitude for Colonel Anderson's generosity with his books that Carnegie was inspired to donate millions of dollars to open public libraries so that all who wished to read and improve themselves would be enabled to do so. Thanks to a donation of over $5 million to the New York City Public Library system, 68 new libraries were built, with an additional 20 libraries built in Brooklyn. In the end, Carnegie was responsible for the creation of over 2,500 public libraries. I was pretty happy to discover my local library is just one of his gifts.