Thursday, May 28, 2009
Carnegie Library Stimulus =?= ARRA Broadband Funds
Douglas Galbi writes,
More than half the libraries existing in the U.S. in 1919 had received construction grant money from Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-born U.S. industrialist who acquired massive wealth. He believed in self-improvement through hard work, and he considered public libraries to serve this purpose by making knowledge available to everyone. Hence Carnegie set up a grant program for the construction of public libraries.Galbi says that commercial book rental libraries were very active at the time, but there's no evidence that this potential conflict ever became a problem.
The total value of Carnegie's grants to U.S. libraries was about equal to that of the current U.S. broadband stimulus package. Carnegie donated more than $40 million between 1886 and 1919 to construct 1,679 new libraries in the U.S. (about $56 million for libraries world-wide). As a share of GDP, Carnegie's total donation to U.S. libraries is about equal to the current $7.2 billion U.S. broadband stimulus package.
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