Friends of the Carnegie



December 13, 2007






The Newnan Carnegie Library is located on the town square of our fair city. In the mid 1980s it was deemed not large enough nor modern enough to meet the growing needs.  A rambling one-story library was built three miles from the square.  At the time it was considered handsome. But actually, it resembles a nursing home, I am sure you can picture it.  


This act was the beginning of a sense of distrust of any decisions that were to come out of city hall. Hard feelings still remain. The Carnegie Library became a courtroom with all the attendant offices. Lawyers, prisoners, witnesses and members of the jury milled around outside the front doors, filling the sidewalk, smoking, looking despondent. Like the broken window syndrome, shabby businesses began to move in.  As elections rolled around, the mayor and other city councilmen were defeated. But a lease had been signed and the courtroom functioned.


Two years ago a large justice center was built and the Carnegie Library stood empty. Within a few months a grassroots committee formed and distributed a survey to community groups. The support for bringing the Carnegie back was amazing. The city council responded positively. Instantly, property within walking distance of the Carnegie began to be snapped up, new shops are opening. A whole new plan for this area is being developed.  Everyone is excited about the programs that will be offered – not a full-scale library – but a library that is responsive to the needs of the people.  We will capitalize on having the only Carnegie Library that has been reclaimed for its original purpose. For us, it is a win-win proposition.


Repairs have begun on this sturdy 1903 building, but a wonderful thing has already happened. . . the bronze plaque listing the names of those who converted the building has been removed. Our group longs to see your Carnegie Library – your Carnegie Library has a history we can only envy.

Please don’t let what happened to our library happen to your library. A later generation will try to recover things lost that can never be recovered. And you will experience those hard feelings.


Carol Burke, Communications Chairman

Newnan Friends of the Carnegie

Newnan, Georgia