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How to Use
the Readings


Inquiry Question

Historical Context


Reading 1
Reading 2
Reading 3
Table 1



Table of

Determining the Facts

Document 1: Schedule of Questions for Communities Applying for a Carnegie Library

Carnegie officials required applicants to provide the following information.

Free Public Library
1. Name of Town___________________________________
2. Population______________________________________
3. Has it a Library at present?__________________________
4. Number of books (excluding government reports)?________
5. Circulation for the last year?_________________________
6. How is Library housed?____________________________
7. Number of rooms, their measurements and uses?_________
8. Finances according to the last annual report:
From Taxes_______
Other income_______
Other costs_______
9. a) Rate at which municipality will pledge annual support (with a tax levy) if building is obtained___________________
b) What is the highest rate of tax levy allowed by law?_________________________
c) How much income would this rate have yielded for the last five years?_________________________
10. Is the requisite site available?_______________
11. Amount, if any, already collected toward building______________

"To facilitate Mr. Carnegie’s consideration of your appeal, will you oblige by filling in the above, and return with a statement of any particulars likely to assist in making decision? It is necessary to give explicit answers to each question, as in the absence of such, there is no basis for action, and the matter will be delayed pending further communication."


Adapted from the three versions used by James Bertram, Carnegie’s secretary.

The form below was designed by Carnegie officials to show that the community accepted the library grant as well as the specified responsibilities.

A Resolution to Accept the Donation of Andrew Carnegie

Whereas, Andrew Carnegie has agreed to furnish_______________ Dollars to the _______________ (name of community) to erect a Free Public Library Building, on condition that the said community shall pledge itself by a Resolution of Council, to support a Free Public Library, at a cost of not less than _______________ Dollars a year, and provide a suitable site for the said building.

Now therefore be it resolved by Council of _________ (name of community) that said community accept said donation, and it does hereby pledge itself to the requirements of Andrew Carnegie. Resolved that it will furnish a suitable site for said building when erected, at a cost of not less than ____________ Dollars. Resolved that an annual levy shall hereafter be made upon the taxable property of said community sufficient in amount to comply with the above requirements.


The signatures of the clerk and mayor and the witnessing statement of the clerk followed.

Questions for Document 1

1. What type of information does the form ask for?

2. Why would Carnegie want to know if the community already had a library? Why would he want to know about how much money the community could supply for maintenance?

3. Why would Carnegie make the community sign a contract in which they promise to provide a site and support for the library for which he will donate the money?

Document 1 was adapted from George S. Bobinski, Carnegie Libraries (Chicago: American Library Association, 1969).


Comments or Questions

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