Carnegie Library

Scotland has a tradition of public education second to none and libraries have been at the forefront of the disbursement of knowledge since the establishment of the Leadhills Miners Reading Society in Lanarkshire. Founded in 1741 it is the oldest subscription library in the British Isles.

Research carried by The Carnegie UK Trust in 2012 shows that people in Scotland still love libraries, with over three-quarters believing that they are either very important or essential to their community with 61% reporting having used a library at least once in the last year, a higher figure than any other part of the UK.
The Trust is one of over twenty foundations established by Andrew Carnegie in the 19th Century and almost certainly funded a local library near you.
The name of the game was “improvement of the well-being of the masses of the people of Great Britain and Ireland by such means as are embraced within the meaning of the word “charitable” and which the Trustees may from time to time select as best fitted from age to age for securing these purposes, remembering that new needs are constantly arising as the masses advance.”
The result was a massive step forward in the emancipation of the working folk of Scotland.

This image is of Inverurie’s Andrew Carnegie Library.

Built in 1911 as an addition to the rather striking Italian style 1863 Town Hall,

Image it has a rather functional and even stern appearance. This was I am sure down to the architect, one Harbourne Maclennan who seemingly was a specialist in designing papermaking factories including those in Culter, Stoneywood and Woodside in Aberdeen.
Mind you, in many ways it is quite apt that a designer of the means of producing paper should be instrumental in the experience of the end user.


About Duncan Harley

Author, photographer and feature writer.
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