Carnegie's Commemorative Grants to Urban Public Libraries


Carnegie Commemorative Grants to Urban Public Libraries
Marking the Centennial of Andrew Carnegie's Gifts to 2,506 Libraries Grants to Promote Literacy, Services to Children and Adolescents, Preservation, and Special Collections

NEW YORK, JUNE 10 — Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded $15 million to The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Borough Public Library, and libraries in 22 other cities serving large culturally diverse populations. The grants mark the centennial period of Andrew Carnegie's gifts to establish public libraries in New York City and more than 1,350 other communities across America. The funds will also benefit the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, which is part of the New York Public Library system.

"The aim of this initiative is to highlight the central role of America's public libraries in preparing young people, adults, and newcomers for a new century in which knowledge and creative thinking will be the basis for individual advancement," said Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the Corporation's board of trustees at a gathering of the foundation's trustees and library directors at the New York Public Library on June 10.

"These grants symbolize Carnegie Corporation's faith in the public library as the guardian of freedom of thought and of the free exchange of information and ideas," said Vartan Gregorian, the Corporation's president and former president of the New York Public Library. "Though libraries have always been able to accommodate all means of communication and most forms of cultural expression, they will remain the essential place of the book. No search engine can replace the library, or the librarian, whose role is to distill the best, to separate fact from fiction, to provide a structure for knowledge and learning. The library, as Norman Mailer put it, is 'the people's palace.' It contains the DNA of our culture.

He added, "If this initiative in honor of Andrew Carnegie's benefactions a century ago stimulates other donors to focus on the contributions of this vital institution, then its purposes will have been wonderfully well served." Almost all of the current grant recipients were originally funded by Andrew Carnegie between 1899 and 1906. All were chosen according to the size and diversity of population served, geographic spread, and/or historical relationship to Andrew Carnegie, according to Gregorian. The funds will be used over one to two years toward services to children and teens, literacy/learning programs, preservation, and special collections of branch libraries of the major public library systems. A total of $4 million will go to the neighborhood libraries in New York City, commemorating Mr. Carnegie's gifts of $5.2 million between 1899 and 1901 to establish 65 branch libraries throughout the five boroughs.

The New York Public Library, now with 85 branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, is garnering the largest share with $2 million. The Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Borough Public Library will each receive $1 million. All other public libraries are receiving $500,000 each (see list on p. 4).

At the New York Public Library, the funds will be used mainly for adult literacy/learning programs aimed at non-English speakers, augmenting support from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. It will also ensure the preservation of rare films in the Donnell Media Center and permit acquisitions of literature, art, and music reflective of New York City's cultural life and the interests of children and young adults. $200,000 alone will go to the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, one of the New York Public Library's four main research libraries and the nation's foremost repository of materials from the African diaspora. The Corporation enabled the library to acquire Arturo Schomburg's personal library and papers in 1925. The current award will support the preservation of newspapers, periodicals, books, and sound recordings.

Commenting on the grant, Howard Dodson, chief of the Schomburg Center, said, "On the eve of the 21st century and the 75th anniversary of the Center, Carnegie Corporation has again invested in the preservation of essential resources for documenting African American and African diasporan histories and culture." The Brooklyn Public Library, which was initially given $1.6 million by Andrew Carnegie to help build 20 branch libraries, now has 58 neighborhood branches including 19 original Carnegie buildings still standing. The current grant will be used to improve the reading readiness and reading skills of children up to age 12 as well as promote lifelong reading. The funds will also support the creation of core ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) collections at every branch to serve Brooklyn's large immigrant population.

The Queens Borough Public Library, to which Mr. Carnegie gave $240,000 to build 3 branches, now has 63 facilities. The new funds will enhance its special collections, including research-level collections on the countries and languages of eastern Europe and Africa and on science and mathematics, and make more multicultural resources available to children. Today the largest branch library in New York City is the Flushing Library, situated on the site of one of the branch libraries built with Mr. Carnegie's money.

Altogether Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Corporation, the philanthropy he established in 1911 and led until he died in 1919, are recorded as giving away more than $56 million for the building of 2,506 free public libraries in the United States and in many other parts of the English-speaking world, including Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the West Indies. The funds spurred the rapid growth of public libraries in these regions and led to their large public acceptance as fundamental democratic and educational institutions. The libraries receiving the Corporation awards are:

  1. Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Atlanta GA $500,000
  2. Biblioteca Carnegie, San Juan, PR $500,000
  3. Boston Public Library, Boston, MA $500,000
  4. Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, NY $1,000,000
  5. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA $500,000
  6. Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL $500,000
  7. Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, OH $500,000
  8. District of Columbia Public Library, Washington, DC. $500,000
  9. Denver Public Library, Denver, CO $500,000
  10. Detroit Public Library, Detroit, MI $500,000
  11. Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, MD $500,000
  12. Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA $500,000
  13. Houston Public Library, Houston, TX $500,000
  14. Indianapolis-Marion County Library, Indianapolis, IN $500,000
  15. Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City , MO $500,000
  16. Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles $500,000
  17. Miami-Dade Public Library System, Miami, FL $500,000
  18. Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis, MN $500,000
  19. Newark Public Library, Newark, NJ $500,000
  20. New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA $500,000
  21. New York Public Library, New York, NY $2,000,000
  22. Queens Borough Public Library, Queens, NY $1,000,000
  23. San Antonio Public Library, San Antonio, TX $500,000
  24. San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA $500,000
  25. Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA $500,000


"Andrew Carnegie and the foundation he established, Carnegie Corporation of New York, have endeavored for more than 100 years to expand educational opportunity, beginning with the creation of 2,509 public libraries and library services throughout the United States and Commonwealth countries. Andrew Carnegie was a great believer in self-help and self-education, which explains his passion for libraries and learning -- a passion that I share. Carnegie Corporation was founded not just for the advancement of knowledge but of understanding. There is scarcely any aspect of education and learning that the foundation has ignored. Over the years the Corporation has worked to strengthen higher education; develop adult education and continuing education for women; advance understanding of cognition and creativity, foster the learning capabilities of young children and adolescents; and reform aspects of precollege education, K through 12.

"Our foundation is about children and their future – their future, which is ourfuture. It is about adults and their aspirations, dreams, ambitions, and journeys of self-discovery through education. But it is also about our citizens -- all our citizens, old and new -- for whom libraries, librarians, books, and other materials have invariably provided a welcome refuge, a pathway to learning and accomplishment, and a source of self-help and hope.

"Today we are here to celebrate Andrew Carnegie’s gifts totaling $56 million to build free public libraries beginning more than a century ago. Specifically, we are here to underscore the importance for all of us of reading. We also want to pay tribute to other private donors -- foundations, corporations, and individuals -- who have contributed to the revitalization of public libraries here and elsewhere. While their commitment to the library enterprise can never take the place of public support, without the generosity and vision of these many devoted philanthropists, an important national institution might long ago have foundered. Instead, libraries everywhere are renewing their mission and drawing on new reserves for the coming century.

"This set of one-time grants to 25 public libraries in New York and other major cities signifies the importance that Carnegie Corporation’s trustees and I attach to the vitality of the public library. We view these awards as testimonials to the need for libraries to strengthen their literacy and outreach programs serving children, youth, and adults, for diversifying their collections, and for preserving the heritage of the past. It is our hope that the grants will become a magnet for solidifying ongoing public and private support for this great work and for raising public consciousness and commitment to the cause of learning."


Paul LeClerc, President and Chief Executive Officer, The New York Public Library:

"One hundred years after the momentous gift from Andrew Carnegie that built 65 branch libraries throughout New York City, and gave rise to the extensive branch library system we know today, the Carnegie name is once more tied inexorably to The New York Public Library. This magnificent gift from Carnegie Corporation to institutions across the country makes a resounding statement about the continuing importance of libraries to every American.

"The generous funds given to the Library will bolster collections in music, art, and literature for all ages; purchase books and other materials in many languages; help those new to this country learn English and other skills to help integrate them into the mainstream of American life; increase literacy programs; preserve important endeavors in filmmaking; and introduce reading and the arts to all New Yorkers through special programs. In addition, $200,000 for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture echoes the original support from the Corporation that enabled the acquisition of Arturo Schomburg’s personal library in 1925.

"The gift says again, resoundingly, that the Library is where the truth can be found; where knowledge unfolds gracefully before the seeker; and where history and the future combine seamlessly for the benefit of all mankind."

Martín Gómez, Executive Director, Brooklyn Public Library:

"The grant from Carnegie Corporation provides Brooklyn Public Library with a phenomenal opportunity to serve our youngest and newest library patrons. These funds will allow us to work hand-in-hand with the city’s schools to enhance the reading skills of both preschool and school-age children -- skills essential to success in school and in life. The Library will also be able to greatly enhance its services to Brooklyn’s large immigrant population by creating core collections for non-English speakers at all of our 58 branch libraries. We applaud Carnegie Corporation’s vision in anticipating the emerging needs of the city’s residents, a vision we share in our commitment to providing the people of Brooklyn with free and open access to information for education, reference, and recreation."

Gary E. Strong, Director, Queens Borough Public Library:

"The Queens Library is extremely grateful for this generous grant which signals the continuing commitment of Carnegie Corporation to America’s libraries. The Queens Library’s mission is to serve the communities of the borough, one of the most diverse counties in the nation. To that end, this grant will be used to augment the collections of our International Resource Center (the largest concentration of multicultural resources available to the Queens community); the math and science resources for children and teens; and children’s languages collections from around the world.

"This opportunity enables the collection to fully reflect the range of human diversity. Because of this contribution our dreams for a better tomorrow for our community will became a reality, impacting lives well into a second century of support from the Carnegie Corporation."

Howard Dodson, Chief, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture:

"Carnegie Corporation was there almost 75 years ago to ensure the preservation of Arthur Schomburg’s collection on Black history and culture. Through the foundation’s grant of $10,000, The New York Public Library was able to acquire it, preserve it, and make it available to the public. On the eve of the 21st century and the 75th anniversary of the Center, Carnegie Corporation has again invested in the preservation of essential resources for documenting African American and African diasporan histories and culture. This $200,000 gift will assist the Center in preserving fragile copies of African American, African, and Caribbean newspapers. It will also provide resources for preserving the voice of significant figures in 20thcentury African American history and culture which have been captured on fragile audiotape formats. We thank the Corporation and its president, Vartan Gregorian, for helping the Schomburg Center maintain its leadership role as a research library on the global African experience."

Selected Statements from Library Directors, Other Cities

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System: "Almost 100 years later, Andrew Carnegie’s gift of a public library to the citizens of Atlanta has grown into a network of 35 facilities." — E. Paulette Smith-Epps, Assistant Director of Public Services

Cleveland Public Library: "Between 1903 and 1914 Andrew Carnegie gave funds to Cleveland for the construction of fifteen branch libraries, helping to fulfill a need to have quality book collections close at hand in Cleveland’s neighborhoods." — Marilyn Gell Mason, Former Director

The Denver Public Library: "The first major reinvention of the Denver Public Library was prompted by the generosity of Andrew Carnegie, whose gift of the Main Library (1910) and eight branch libraries (1913-1920) created a presence in Denver’s expanding neighborhoods." — Rick J. Ashton, City Librarian

District of Columbia Public Library: "In Washington, Mr. Carnegie’s gift supported the construction of four facilities, three of which are still serving the public as libraries and the fourth, the city’s old main library, will soon be converted into a museum of the history of the city of Washington. — Anthony A. Williams, Mayor of Washington, D.C.

Enoch Pratt Free Library: "On November 10, 1906, Mr. Andrew Carnegie gave $500,000 to the Enoch Pratt Free Library for the construction of branch libraries. This gift, the largest since Enoch Pratt’s original bequest in 1882, built fifteen libraries, and enabled the Pratt Library to meet the ever-increasing demand for library service in the City." — Carla D. Hayden, Director, Enoch Pratt Free Library

The Free Library of Philadelphia: "As Mr. Carnegie wrote to the Board of Trustees of The Free Library of Philadelphia in 1903, ‘the Branch Libraries are the most popular institution of all, and, I think, the most useful. A great Central Library is, of course, needed, but even before it in usefulness I place the local libraries, which reach the masses of people.’" — Elliot L. Shelkrot, President and Director

Los Angeles Public Library: "The Los Angeles Public Library was a direct beneficiary of Mr. Carnegie’s philanthropy with his gift of ten Carnegie libraries [in 1912]. Today our Library serves the largest population of any library system in the United States." — Susan Kent, City Librarian

San Antonio Public Library: "In 1903, and again in 1909, [Andrew] Carnegie’s gifts were the impetus for the founding and expansion of free Public Library services [in San Antonio]." — Kaye Lenox, Executive Director, San Antonio Library Foundation

Seattle Public Library: "We have thought about how the Carnegie legacy, the role of branch libraries, and the ways in which library service and usage have changed in the years following Mr, Carnegie’s generous gift to the people of Seattle and others throughout the world. Our citizens are proud of the preservation and award-winning restoration of our Carnegie branches performed over the last decade." — Gilbert W. Anderson, Board of Trustees


1. Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System $500,000

Multicultural literacy project. Andrew Carnegie’s gift to establish the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library was made in 1899, with the building completed in 1902. Today, with 35 facilities (the downtown Central Library, the Research Library on African-American Culture, and 33 branches) and two bookmobiles, it serves more than 3.5 million people in Fulton County and beyond. The grant is helping the entire library system build three core circulating collections to meet the needs of its burgeoning constituency of young and adult non-English speakers and those with low levels of literacy or English-language learning. A multicultural literacy resource committee will be formed to manage the project, and widespread efforts will be made to let the public know about these resources.

E. Paulette Smith-Epps, Assistant Director of Public Services, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, 1 Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta 30303-1089 (404) 730-1972.

2. Biblioteca Carnegie $500,000

Young adult collection and outreach programs for young adults. The Biblioteca Carnegie was created with Andrew Carnegie’s gift in 1916. Partly devastated during Hurricane Hugo in 1989, it has been refurbished and reopened in 1995. Rather than branches, it has bookmobiles that circulate throughout the metropolitan area. The library will develop a young adult collection as part of the library’s outreach to adolescents in an effort to improve high school retention rates. To encourage reading and learning, the bookmobiles will visit high schools twice a month for two hours in the afternoons. Talks and programs will be presented on topics of interest to young people, and students will be encouraged to use the main library’s computers to research topics on the Internet.

Josefina Gómez de Hillyer, Director, Biblioteca Carnegie, Número 7, Avenue Ponce de León, San Juan, PR 00901-2010. (718) 722-4739.

3. The Boston Public Library $500,000

Create neighborhood history centers and expand literacy services. Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library is the oldest municipally funded library in the U.S., with 25 branches. The library will create neighborhood history centers in seven of its branches drawing on local historical collections that these branches already own. Materials will undergo preservation treatments to make them suitable for public display. There are in the Boston area nearly 1 million adults and their children who are in need of assistance in mastering basic literacy skills. A second project, therefore, is to expand the literacy services throughout all branches, by enhancing the two existing literacy centers in the system. In addition, family literacy programs will be launched, to include support for new mothers to help their children with reading fundamentals.

Bernard A. Margolis, President, The Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116. (617) 536-5400.

4. Brooklyn Public Library $1,000,000

Reading program for children and core collections for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Andrew Carnegie provided funds in 1901 to build 21 branches of the Brooklyn Public Library. These were completed by 1923. The library system now has 58 branches, 19 of them original Carnegie buildings. Forty percent of New York City’s newcomers representing 157 different ethnic groups and 90 languages settle in Brooklyn each year. The grant will enhance several systemwide initiatives to encourage reading skills and lifelong reading among children up to age 12 and to improve reading, writing, and conversational skills in English among Brooklyn’s large and growing immigrant population. With this grant, the library will extend its Ready to Read program from 10 to all branches and also build up its core ESOL collections in all branches. The recent low performance of Brooklyn’s children on state reading tests underscores the importance of this project.

Martín Gómez, Executive Director, Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238. (718) 230-2403.

5. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh $500,000

Systemwide preservation and access project. Andrew Carnegie’s offer in 1881 to give a library building to the city of Pittsburgh was at first refused, but the gifts were finally made beginning in 1890. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will use this grant to implement phase one of a three-phase project to preserve and conserve materials, including more than 80,000 photographic prints and negatives, about Carnegie’s life and about the history of industrialism in southwestern Pennsylvania. The 8 original Carnegie branch libraries also have rich stores of historical documents, including reports filed by librarians documenting the impact of the branches on their neighborhoods.

Herbert Elish, Director, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080. (412) 622-3100.

6. Chicago Public Library $500,000 one year

Teen reading project. There are at least 500,000 adolescents in the city of Chicago who are underserved by their neighborhood libraries. Many of these young people lose interest in reading after the sixth grade. Chicago Public Library, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 1998, will build a collection of books and expand library services for young adults in each of its 78 branches, using Corporation support. The aim is to encourage a habit of reading and an interest in lifelong learning. Book titles will cover fiction and nonfiction written specifically for teenagers. Free public programs such as author readings, reading programs, and teen book discussions will be featured throughout the year. The library is in the midst of a citywide neighborhood library capital construction program, and it is expected that in 2001 about 70 percent of its buildings will be fully renovated or replaced, with expanded collections.

Mary A. Dempsey, Commissioner, Chicago Public Library, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. (312) 747-4999.

7. Cleveland Public Library $500,000

Literacy project for young children. Between 1903 and 1914, Andrew Carnegie gave funds to Cleveland for the construction of 15 branch libraries; there are now 28. Despite such resources, the literacy level of children in Cleveland is among the lowest in the nation; the poverty level – 43 percent according to the 1990 U.S. Census – is among the highest. Cleveland Municipal Schools estimate that 30 percent of the city’s children enter the first grade deficient in language development. The Cleveland Public Library is determined to make a difference for these children. The library will establish early childhood learning environments in all its branches, involving small-group programs for children from infancy up to age 5 and their adult caregivers; links between all the branches and area child care centers will be forged and training institutes conducted on early childhood issues for all children’s librarians and support staff and for neighborhood parents, local educators, and child care providers.

Andrew Venable, Jr., Director, Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114-1271. (216) 623-2800.

8. The Denver Public Library $500,000

Special acquisitions for foreign-language collections; enhance services to children; refresh core collections. The first Denver Public Library was established in 1889. Andrew Carnegie’s grant in 1903 paid for a new main library building, which was completed in 1910. Additional grants from the Corporation between 1913 and 1918 built 8 branches, now expanded to 22. The population of Denver is changing fast. The acquisition of new bilingual materials in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, and English is crucial in ensuring that the library keeps pace with public demand. The grant will be used to purchase these materials and also to support reading programs for children and their parents in low-income neighborhoods. Additionally, the funds will help refresh nonfiction collections in the branches.

Rick J. Ashton, City Librarian, The Denver Public Library, 10 West Fourteenth Avenue Parkway, Denver CO 80204-2731. (303) 640-6128.

9. Detroit Public Library $500,000

Project for young adolescents. Andrew’s Carnegie gift established the Detroit Public Library in 1901. In recent decades, the city’s young adolescents have been disproportionately affected by the downturn in the city’s economy, as have the library’s 24 branches and bookmobile services. With this grant, the library will rebuild and update its materials for adolescents ages 10 to 14, supplying each branch with a complete set of high-interest fiction, recorded books, and curriculum support materials. The library will also work with the YES Foundation, a community-based membership organization offering educational enrichment to youths, in developing a monthly youth-oriented program at each branch.

Maurice B. Wheeler, Director, Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202. (313) 833-3997.

10. District of Columbia Public Library $500,000

Expand literacy services and services to adolescents; upgrade community languages collections; develop special resources on the Harlem Renaissance. Andrew Carnegie’s gift established the central library and 3 branches in 1898. In 1997, the district experienced a public school dropout rate of 44.5 percent with roughly half of the students leaving by the eighth grade. About 50 percent of its welfare recipients cannot read at the eighth-grade level. There are growing numbers of Hispanics, Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese desperately needing literacy services. The library is establishing a computer-assisted literacy instruction center in the Southwest Branch, developing a literacy web site, enhancing outreach to students in junior high and middle schools, developing resources on the Harlem Renaissance in the district, and acquiring materials in community languages and new media.

Mary E. Raphael, Director, District of Columbia Public Library, 901 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001-4599. (202) 727-1101.

11. Enoch Pratt Free Library $500,000

Expand services to youth, parents, and caregivers and upgrade foreign-language collections. Andrew Carnegie gave $500,000 in 1906 to Enoch Pratt Free Library to construct 15 branch libraries; these have now grown to 26. Designated the State Library Resource Center, the Pratt Library has been the principal provider of extensive references and material resources for citizens and library systems throughout the state. With these funds the library will extend the Family Place Project, a national initiative to support family-centered services, to more branches; it will purchase electronic access to resources and educational videos in Spanish as well as English and upgrade collections for African Americans (who comprise 60 percent of the surrounding population) and for non-English speakers of Russian, Greek, Italian, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Island descent.

Carla D. Hayden, Director, Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-4484. (410) 396-5395.

12. The Free Library of Philadelphia $500,000

Enhance and expand Project LEAP (Learn, Enjoy, and Play). The Free Library of Philadelphia and its 52 branch and regional libraries serve more than 1.5 million citizens, circulating in excess of 6 million books and other materials annually. When Andrew Carnegie funded the library’s 25 branches in 1903, he wrote, "the Branch Libraries are the most popular institution of all, and, I think, the most useful. A great Central Library is, of course, needed, but even before it in usefulness I place the local libraries, which reach the masses of people." Project LEAP, initially funded by Pew Charitable Trusts, other foundations, and corporations, provides after-school homework help, computer-assisted learning, and educational enrichment to more than 57,000 students through grade eight at 35 branch libraries. The library has recently completed a $60 million campaign for renovation, technology collections, and outreach programs to all branches.

Elliot L. Shelkrot, President and Director, The Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (215) 686-5300.

13. Houston Public Library 500,000

Library programs for Hispanic users.The Houston Public Library, which received a substantial grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1899, will create a series of programs under the title De Colores: Programas de la Biblioteca (A Multitude of Colors: Library Programs) to attract Hispanic children and their families to its 35 branch libraries. Surveys indicate that less than 25 percent of all library customers in the city are of Hispanic background, yet Hispanics make up 29 percent of the city’s population. The funds will permit the library to enhance current services to adolescents and youth, such as its summer reading program and theme month events, and launch a strong outreach effort to bring in new users. Coupled with the enhanced programming is a plan to develop related book, music, and video collections in the branches.

Barbara A. B. Gubbin, Director, Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney Avenue, Houston, TX 77002-2534. (713) 247-2700.

14. Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library $500,000

Enhance and expand foreign-language collections. Indianapolis is responding to its growing Hispanic, Asian, Russian, Serbian, Croatian, and Albanian populations by purchasing additional print and nonprint materials in these languages and training library staff and translators to create associated brochures and library cards. The number of Hispanic residents in the city has mushroomed from 8,000 in 1990 to as high as 80,000 today. The library will make special efforts to reach these residents through Spanish-language videos, audiocassettes, CDs, and magazines, while also working to improve their English-language skills. To promote reading within the home, the library is developing a small paperback basic home library for distribution in the branches. Approximately 4,000 sets will contain a dictionary, family medical guide, an almanac, family read-aloud guide, and paperbacks geared to the age levels of the children.

Edward Szynaka, Director of Public Libraries, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, P.O. Box 211, Indianapolis, IN 46206 (317) 269-1722.

15. Kansas City Public Library $500,000

Expand Books to Better Our Lives collection. With this grant, the library will expand its Books to Better Our Lives collection to each of the system’s 9 branches. The core collection contains books on personal finance, cooking, religion and spirtuality, resume writing and job hunting, parenting, health and wellness, educational advancement, and government test books for young adults. The library will also purchase easy reader and audio versions of books in Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, and the languages of 25 other countries. The library’s collection specialist will work with the library staff and other agencies to create culturally appropriate programs for each branch.

Daniel J. Bradbury, Executive Director, Kansas City Public Library, 311 East 12th Street, Kansas City, MO 64106. (816) 701-3410.

16. Los Angeles Public Library $500,000

Expand after-school reading club for children. The Los Angeles Public Library, a beneficiary of Andrew Carnegie’s gift in 1912 to build 10 library branches, now has 67 branches and 4 bookmobiles serving the largest population of any library system in the U.S. Eighty percent of the children from kindergarten through grade 3 in the Los Angeles Unified School District are not reading at grade level. The city has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the country. With Corporation funds, the library will expand its 2000 Reasons to Read after-school and summer reading enrichment program for children from preschool through age 11, complementing literacy programs for other age groups. The library expects to reach 50,000 children through the neighborhood and main libraries. Books will be purchased in English and other languages.

Susan Kent, City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library, 630 West Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071. (213) 228-7515.

17. Miami-Dade Public Library System $500,000

Acquire foreign-language materials for immigrant populations. Sixty-four percent of Miami-Dade County’s population of 1.7 million people is foreign born. The Cuban immigration beginning in the 1960s, followed by the Haitian and Central American in more recent decades, has changed the area’s character, with an estimated 250,000 adults functionally illiterate in English. While the library system has always provided foreign-language materials, the collection is inadequate to meet demand. This grant will be used to purchase language instruction books, audiocassettes, videos, and reading materials in English, Spanish, French, and Creole. Citizenship classes in the branches will be supplied with books on citizenship and the immigration process. Books will also be purchased on a range of other practical subjects, along with bilingual materials to foster family literacy and cross-cultural understanding.

Raymond Santiago, Director of Libraries, Miami-Dade Public Library System, Metro-Dade Cultural Center, 101 West Flager Street, Miami, FL 33130-1523. (305) 375-5026.

18. Minneapolis Public Library $500,000

Services for immigrant families and students. The Carnegie Gateway Project is a plan to revitalize and expand successful library services and programs for new immigrants, aimed particularly at supporting Southeast Asian, Hispanic, and East African immigrant families in their transition to life in Minneapolis. Over 20 percent of the students in the city’s public schools have a first language other than English; one-fourth of new mothers in 1997 came from another country. Seven branches located in the central city will enhance their parent education and outreach services to immigrant families with young children and expand their provision of drop-in tutorial assistance for students at all grade levels. The grant will also enable the library to reach more adults in need of literacy instruction in English and citizenship education at the Franklin Learning Center, located within one of the city’s 3 Carnegie libraries. Associated collections and computer equipment will be augmented with the grant.

Mary Lawson, Director, Minneapolis Public Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1992. (612) 630-6200.

19. The Newark Public Library $500,000

Citywide branch revitalization project. Founded in 1888, the Newark Public Library maintains 10 neighborhood branches in all corners of the city. These branches serve a university and commuter population of 120,000 and an urban population of more than 250,000 ethnically diverse residents, the majority of whom are African American or Hispanic. Branch 2000 is a plan to upgrade collections and services at all branch libraries in the system. The grant will permit the library to enhance existing projects. The idea is to target Newark’s 86,000 children and youth, ages 5 to 19, through two programs in collaboration with the public schools: the Community Health Information Project and the All-Branch Collection Development Project. The former program is a significant source of vital health information for the city’s 80,000 adolescents and will be expanded from 4 to 10 branches.

Alex Boyd, Director, The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street, P.O. Box 630, Newark, NJ 07101. (973) 773-7780.

20. New Orleans Public Library $500,000 fifteen months

Enhance and expand collections for young children, adolescents, and teenage parents. Financing for the New Orleans Public Library has declined over the past decade as the tax base has eroded and costs have increased. A high proportion of the student population in Orleans Parish is poor, and many young people are deficient in basic literacy and numeracy skills. The grant will be used to build up the library’s collection of books and other materials for young children, adolescents, and teenage parents and expand reading and literacy programs for these groups.

Gertiana C. Williams, Acting City Librarian, New Orleans Public Library, 219 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112-2044. (504) 596-2600.

21. The New York Public Library $2,000,000

Adult literacy projects, special acquisitions to strengthen core collection, and preservation of materials at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 1901, Andrew Carnegie provided a $5.2 million grant to New York City to establish 65 branch libraries in the five boroughs. Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island are part of the New York Public Library, founded in 1895. The libraries of Queens and Brooklyn have their own systems. Currently the New York Public Library has 85 branches and 4 research libraries, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Corporation funds will be used to upgrade and expand the system’s adult literacy programs to benefit non-English speakers; preserve 90 rare and unique films in the Donnell Media Center of the Donnell Branch Library; and augment collections of music, art, and literature giving special attention to materials of interest to recent immigrants. In 1925 a Corporation grant enabled the library to purchase Arturo Schomburg’s personal library and papers, from which the Schomberg Center was built. The new grant will help the center preserve rare newspapers, monographs and serials, and sound recordings.

Paul LeClerc, President and Chief Executive Officer, The New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10018. (212) 930-1736.

22. The Queens Borough Public Library $1,000,000

Enhance special collections in the social sciences and math and science; and on diversity. Part of Andrew Carnegie’s $5.2 million grant in 1901 to build branch libraries in New York City benefitted The Queens Borough Public Library. The busiest of any library system in the U.S., it circulated 16 million items in 1998. Its 62 branches and Central Library serve a very ethnically diverse population, and materials are purchased in over 50 languages each year. The funds will enhance research-level collections on the countries and languages of Eastern Europe and Africa in the Flushing Library’s International Resource Center, a state-of-the-art facility situated on the site of the original Flushing Branch Library, which was funded by Mr. Carnegie. In 1998, more than 110,000 children participated in after-school programs offered by the library system at half its branches. Under the grant, the library will make available to children new materials on other cultures and languages as well as on math and science, for all branches and the central library.

Gary E. Strong, Director, The Queens Borough Public Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11432. (718) 990-0794.

23. San Antonio Public Library $500,000

Enhance library services to children. In 1903, when Andrew Carnegie gave money to build its public library, San Antonio was a frontier town of 30,000. Today it is the 10th largest city in the U.S., with 1.4 million people. A majority are from minority backgrounds, primarily Mexican American, of whom 70 percent live in poverty. More than one-third of all ninth graders will not graduate from high school. Even so, nearly 500,000 people have library cards and are avid users. To meet rising demand for materials for the city’s children and foster a love of reading and learning, the library will use the grant to purchase 1,300 new books, tapes, and videos for each of its 18 branches and pay for multi-media workstations and interactive CD-ROM programs, together with promotional materials, for children from preschool through the sixth grade. The library has launched a campaign to raise $8 million for its 100th anniversary by the year 2003.

Nancy Gandara, Acting Director, San Antonio Public Library, 600 Soledad, San Antonio, TX 78205. (210) 207-2632.

24. San Francisco Public Library $500,000 one year

Improve academic and job information to adolescents. A Carnegie grant promised in 1901 but not actually appropriated until 1912 built the San Francisco Public Library and 5 branches; these have grown to 26. High School and Beyond was created by the library to assist adolescents in making informed choices about their future. Through its collections and a series of workshops, it provides information and referrals to both college and non-college-bound youth about secondary schools and about colleges, careers, and programs in the Bay Area. Teens get help with SAT preparation, applications for scholarships, college and university selections, apprenticeships, vocational training, job preparedness, and job opportunities. Plans are to have a teen librarian in each of the system’s 6 resource branches as well as in the main library. The grant is augmenting these services.

Susan Hildreth, Deputy City Librarian, San Francisco Public Library, Civic Center, San Francisco, CA 94102. (415) 557-4236.

25. Seattle Public Library $500,000

Enhance and expand special collections of music and film for branch libraries. Andrew Carnegie’s grant in 1901 built the Seattle Public Library. The library now proposes to revitalize its 22 branches by providing each with a core collection of videos, current classic cinema, and compact discs of basic collections of music in all fields – classical, pop, country, jazz, rhythm & blues, and others. Currently the neighborhood collections are small and wearing out. Each branch’s collection will be reflective of the tastes, background, and interests of its neighborhood and will be used to bridge cultural divides.

Deborah L. Jacobs, City Librarian, Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-1193. (206) 386-4130.

Letter from A. Carnegie to Dr. J.S. Billings, 12th March 1901
This letter of March 12, 1901, written by Andrew Carnegie to John Shaw Billings, the first director of the recently incorporated New York Public Library, inaugurated the branch library system in New York City. Image courtesy New York Public Library