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Mar 21, 2024

How often does Indiana rank as the No. 1 state in a national list? Well, here's a record for the books: More Carnegie Libraries were built in Indiana than any other state.

Between 1901 and about 1918, 164 public libraries built in large part by funding from philanthropist and industrialist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) were constructed in Indiana. More than 100 of them are still used as public libraries across the state. Others have been repurposed as everything from restaurants to museums, art galleries, local government offices and civic centers, with many retaining the "Carnegie" name in some way.

To explore a range of aspects about "the Carnegies" – which include two branches still in use in the Indianapolis Public Library system – Nelson will be joined by studio guest Dr. William McNiece, president of the Marion County Historical Society, who has done a deep dive into the topic. The first Carnegie Library built in Indiana was in Goshen and the last town to receive funding was Lowell, Ind. OF Indiana's 92 counties, only 9 did not receive any Carnegie funding for a public library, according to Dr. McNiece.