Glenn A. Walsh - (412) 561-7876,


Carnegie, Pa., March 17 - On April 20, 1899, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie executed a Declaration of Trust agreement which legally established the Andrew Carnegie Free Library. Construction of the Library, at 300 Beechwood Avenue in Carnegie Borough, began in October of 1899. The Library opened to the public on May 1, 1901.

The Declaration of Trust agreement is the Library's legal charter, which is enforced by the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. Among the several provisions of the Trust agreement are:

1) Andrew Carnegie stated that "The Library shall be free to the people forever..." However, he did allow fees to be charged for use of the Music Hall and Lecture Hall.

2) "Said institution shall be known as the Andrew Carnegie Free Library." Of the 2,509 libraries built by Andrew Carnegie, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library was the only public library granted permission to use both his first and last names.

3) Ten Life Trustees and seven Ex-Officio Trustees comprise the governing Board of the Library.
As U.S. Supreme Court Justices, who are appointed for life, consider the long-term best interests of the United States, Andrew Carnegie believed that Life Trustees could consider the long-term best interests of the Library. Hence, he also appointed Life Trustees to the Boards of other libraries and museums he built.
The Mayor and all six Councilmen of the Borough of Carnegie sit as the Ex-Officio Trustees. Unlike the ex-officio trustees on most boards, Andrew Carnegie insisted that all seven Ex-Officio Trustees have full voting privileges on the Library Board of Trustees.

4) By a 2/3 vote of the Board of Trustees, Library By-Laws may be adopted and amended, provided that the By-Laws are not inconsistent with the Declaration of Trust agreement. The original Library By-Laws were adopted April 9, 1900. The By-Laws has been amended several times, in recent years.

5) The Andrew Carnegie Free Library was the fourth of only five libraries to receive an endowment from Andrew Carnegie: $93,000 in 1899. The other libraries to receive an endowment were located in Dunfermline, Scotland(1881), Braddock, Pa.(1889), Homestead, Pa.(1898), and Duquesne, Pa.(1904-1968).

At the end of the Declaration of Trust agreement, Andrew Carnegie wrote:

"In my opinion no body of Citizens of Carnegie will ever enter upon a trust more beneficial for the town of Carnegie, however great the future of that town may be.


New York, April 20, 1899."

In recognition of the centennial of the legal establishment of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library, a national history magazine for children, Cobblestone, has dedicated their April, 1999 issue to the history of the life of Andrew Carnegie.


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Andrew Carnegie Free Library History Cover Page.

History of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library.

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