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My earliest memories of going to the library were with my Mom.  She loved to read and my brothers and I did as well.  We'd go every other week to this beautiful library in the "city" with a large atrium and floors of books going in circles all the way up to a glass dome.  No one needed to tell us to hush, just the dramatic architecture and wood bookcases with brass railings gave you a feeling of awe.  Then and now I love the smell of a library.I'd get as many Nancy Drew mysteries as they'd let me check out and even then a few days before I'd be waiting anxiously for our next trip.  I still love mysteries today and some of my favorites are the Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George.

Although there were shared libraries that were public as early as the Egyptians they were for the privileged few who could afford the subscription or were even allowed access.

When the value and importance of education was seen as a way to move a population out of poverty and later from farming into the Industrial Age, the need for Public Libraries became of national interest.  In the United States there is dispute on who had the first true Public Library or free one to the public.  Rather than list the claims, you can go to this Wikipedia link to read about it. 

There is no dispute however on the effect Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy had on opening Public Libraries throughout the English speaking world in the late 19th century and early 20th, especially in small towns.  He funded nearly 3,000 libraries always making sure that the town provided the land and had funding to support the maintenance and operation of the library.  His first was built in his home town of Dunfermline, Scotland, coincidentally not that far from where my Scottish ancestors resided.

 

Our small and remote town of Port Angeles received one of the last Carnegie Libraries which is now used as a museum for the county's interesting history from the time of Lewis and Clark, logging, fishing and the not so pretty history of what the white man did to the Native Americans who had lived in the area for centuries.

Port Townsend, also on the Olympic Peninsula, has a Carnegie Library, too, and is currently seeking financial help in a major remodel to expand and modernize the building.  Knowing the support their citizens give to their beautiful town I'm sure they'll succeed.  Libraries across the country are in trouble as funding gets cut in these tough economic times.  I would think stocking shelves is not an issue when we can all donate books we no longer need and publishers could set aside a certain amount for public libraries.  It's the maintenance of the buildings and appropriate staffing that need our local help in terms of fund raising and other creative ideas.  I know my childhood wouldn't have been as full of dreams nor my adulthood so full of adventure and learning without Public Libraries.  

What memories do you have of going to your Public Library?  

A library book, I imagine, is a happy book.  Cornelia Funke Note: 

This post was written as part of a blog carnival by my EtsyBloggers Team.  If you're a lover of books and libraries, you might want to read how other Etsy shop owners are influenced by Public Libraries.  The other topic may also interest you as some of the team gives you a tour of their home town.

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Comments

I still love my library and

I still love my library and go every week, at least. Ours was named the best in (something). Thanks for sharing. Linda B.

Our neighborhood library is

Our neighborhood library is less than a 1/4 mile away. We love it and spend a lot of time there!!

isn't it nice to see so many

isn't it nice to see so many Etsybloggers appreciate books and historic structures. That's neat that they building became a museum! And thanks for participating in the Carnival and our new SimplyLinked! {:-D

I used to go to our library

I used to go to our library with my mum when I was little, it was a happy experience and I take my little girl there too, it's just as much fun :-)

Growing up in the country my

Growing up in the country my siblings and I passed long summer afternoons devouring library books. We'd all squeeze together on the hammock and read away the hot summer days. There's still a magical feeling whenever I walk into our library, a smell that instantly brings me back 25 years! :)

It's interesting to me to see

It's interesting to me to see how many towns have Carnegie Libraries. You all make me want to get off this darn PC and grab a book and sit by the fireplace! I wish it was warm enough for a hammock, but a fire will create the right atmosphere, too. ; )

I never knew about Carnegie

I never knew about Carnegie libraries, pretty interesting to see a few so far in blogger posts. Thanks for sharing.and like Simply Smitten said - there's nothing like the smell of books!

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