November 25 is Andrew Carnegie's birthday!


Wednesday, November 25th was American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie’s 180th birthday.  Northfield and about 3,000 other communities have Mr. Carnegie to thank for our public libraries. 

As Garrison Keillor tells it in the Writer’s Almanac on November 25th, Carnegie “came to this country as a teenager and took a job in a factory in Pittsburgh.  He wanted to educate himself, but although there were public libraries at the time, you had to pay an annual fee to become a member.  Carnegie wrote a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Dispatch, arguing that poor people should be given free access to libraries so that they could improve themselves.  The director of Carnegie’s local library read the letter, and it persuaded him to change the rule.”

Carnegie, with the help of his local library, got a job as a railroad telegrapher and within 11 years, he was a vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  He then started his own steel company, which he sold after 10 years. The rest is history from which we all continue to benefit. 

Thank you, Mr. Carnegie, and happy birthday!