A Carnegie library is a library built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Over twenty-five-hundred Carnegie libraries were built around the world between 1883 and 1929, with 1,689 built in the United States. As Carnegie’s library funding progressed, very few of the towns that requested a grant, committing to his terms for operation and maintenance, were refused. By the time the last grant was made in 1919, half of the libraries in the United States were built with construction grants paid by Carnegie.
The effort to secure a Marceline Carnegie Library was started by the Marceline Women’s Civic League with a request to the Carnegie Foundation in March 1917. Just a couple months later, the City of Marceline was notified by the Carnegie Corporation that $12,500 would be granted for a public library. The city had to promise to collect a tax to maintain the library.
1918 and 1919 were busy years: A Library Board was appointed, an architect selected, a library site chosen, building plans approved by the Carnegie Foundation, and many other details completed. Building construction got underway, a book drive was conducted, and the Marceline Carnegie Library was open to the public on November 1, 1920.
The Marceline Carnegie Library has been growing readers for one-hundred years and will continue for many more as it continues to serve an important function within the community.