Dixie Darr

Man of Steel

In Books, Lent - Season of Change, Uncategorized on April 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm

smileyLent – Season of Change, Day 37

Andrew Carnegie is my kind of Superhero. A Scottish-American born in 1835 in Scotland, he emigrated to the United States in 1848 and led the U.S. steel industry to became one of the richest Americans ever worth $374 billion in today’s equivalent. I couldn’t care less about that.

What I do admire is that he spent the last 30 years of his life giving away 90% of his fortune and suggesting that other rich people to use their wealth for the benefit of society, kind of like the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett of the 1900s. He used much of his money to build 2,509 libraries including some 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Serbia, Belgium, France, the Caribbean, Mauritius, Malaysia and Fiji.

When the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the United States, nearly half of them built with construction grants from Carnegie. As I said, my kind of guy.

Colorado boasts 35 Carnegie public libraries plus one at the University of Denver. Thirty of these buildings are still standing, and 18 still operate as libraries. Denver has nine, five of which are still used as libraries including Smiley where I pick up and return books every Saturday and Woodbury, the branch I frequented for the 33 years I lived in North Denver.

Smiley was built in 1918. It’s a sweet little library in Berkeley Park at 46th and Utica that gives me access to books from libraries all over the country. It’s on the Doors Open Denver event April 29-30 and my friend Bill will be leading tours there on Saturday, April 29. Stop by and say, “Hi.” (Hi, Bill.)

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