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24th October 2022
Scottish-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) helped fund the construction of more than 660 libraries in the UK and Ireland in order to enable the housing of books and free access to them. The buildings themselves are architecturally fascinating and varied, and these days the libraries are often important and much-needed hubs for local communities. At a time of budget cuts, threats to libraries, and talk - but little evidence of - 'levelling up', it is absolutely vital that they are celebrated and preserved. The world's first Carnegie library was opened in 1883 in Dunfermline, Carnegie's birthplace. It has been recently renovated and expanded to include a free art gallery and museum, but its beautiful reading room (above) is still the core of the building.
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