Here’s a love story we all can get around: the love for libraries.
The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story of Andrew Carnegie is an illustrated non-fiction for kids. It focuses on the good Carnegie did by using his vast fortune to set up free public libraries all over the world. It doesn’t get into some of his questionable union-quashing practices, but we’ll leave that for grownups to despair over.
Author Andrew Larsen explains how Carnegie grew up dirt poor in Scotland. Desperate for new opportunities, the family immigrated to the United States. Even as a boy, Carnegie knew the only way to get ahead was to get an education and learn, but opportunities were few and far between. Carnegie met Colonel Anderson who opened his private library on Saturday afternoons so workers could read books. See? No one gets anywhere without a little help. Personal triumph always hinges on the back of another’s support or generosity. Malcolm Gladwell was right.
Andrew Carnegie kept reading and working hard. And eventually, he amassed a lot of wealth. Admittedly at a time of huge economic growth for the USA, which is also important to remember.
It’s a cute story, even if it is about another rich, white, male, dead philanthropist. Key takeaways: reading is great, libraries are awesome, and working hard is never a bad idea. As a kid, I spent a lot of time in libraries and even now, I have a soft spot for them. Which is why I get all my books from the library.