Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), who emigrated to Pittsburgh USA with his parents in 1848 and worked his way up from messenger boy to ‘dictator’ in the steel world, made the greatest single contribution to the development of public libraries and the establishment of a system of library co‐operation within the United Kingdom. He created 2,811 free public libraries (660 in Great Britain and Ireland), at a cost of over $50 million. In 1913, the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, was founded ‘for the improvement of the well‐being of the masses’, which led to the development of the Central Library for Students, the Rural Libraries and the Regional Library systems, out of which grew the county libraries that complete the public libraiy coverage of the United Kingdom today.
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