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How Andrew Carnegie's wealth helped build US modern library system




A volunteer with the LA Public Library's STAR program reading to children at the Eagle Rock Branch (March 2012). Adults will read to children in the community as a way to engage the community around reading.
A volunteer with the LA Public Library's STAR program reading to children at the Eagle Rock Branch (March 2012). Adults will read to children in the community as a way to engage the community around reading.
Los Angeles Public Library

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Andrew Carnegie once said: "The man who dies rich dies in disgrace."  When Carnegie passed away in 1919, he managed to avoid that fate, having given away almost 90 percent of his fortune - worth more than $350 million at the time.

More than $50 million of that went to build hundreds of libraries--142 here in California alone.  In today's dollars, that's $1.2 billion.  If you go check out a book in Eagle Rock or Oakland, you're going to a library built with Carnegie's money, in a more accessible design made popular by his efforts.  In fact, Carnegie helped build the modern library system in the U.S., writes Kriston Capps on the CityLab.  Capps joins Take Two with more on the legacy of these places now.