Andrew CarnegieAndrew Carnegie, (1835-1919) Scottish-American industrialist, philanthropist

Andrew Carnegie Quote

“I choose free libraries as the best agencies for improving the masses of the people, because they give nothing for nothing. They only help those who help themselves. They never pauperize. They reach the aspiring and open to these chief treasures of the world -- those stored up in books. A taste for reading drives out lower tastes.”

Andrew CarnegieAndrew Carnegie
~ Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie in New York Herald, June 1900

Ratings and Comments

Joe, Rochester, MI

Read and learn always.

Dick Trice, Fort Worth

I think it is meaningless quotation not worth repeating.

Robert, Sarasota

Great quote - those who burn books and ban certain literature must be masochistic.

tommy, honolulu

may libraries be an open invitation to all

Dick, Fort Worth

WHOA! I did not write the words above my name on this quotation. It was made MONTHS ago re another quote. I DO NOT appreciate a mistake of this kind. My response to Carnegie's quote is: there is much truth here but llibraries are not the best agency for improving the masses. That agency should be better textbooks in schools and a truly free press, of which we have neither in this country any more. It is not the mass who will use a library and it is they who are most in need of truth. The aspiring will seek it out and libraries provide that great treasure, but it is the average human who needs greater ease of learning truth.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Dick, I checked the logs, and, yes, you did write those words on Sep 13 when the Carnegie quote was posted last year (sorry for a repeat so soon). It is not infrequent to receive similar comments and ratings from you. Why are you so surprised to read your own words? I believe the mistake is yours.

Dick, Fort Worth

Mr. Editor, you have either made a bad mistake or you are lying. Yes, I wrote those words but it was definitely not for the quote it is attributed to. I am not so stupid or forgetful that I would make completely contradictory reflections on the same idea. I would appreciate it if you would make this clear on tomorrow's edition for those who commented previously and will not have the opportunity to read my reply.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Dick, No mistake has been made. The quote was sent last year, and on the exact day of its receipt, a comment was logged by your IP address. Nothing was added to your comment. I have no reason to lie and find it insulting that you cannot own up to your own comments whether they were intentional or not. I am not suggesting you are stupid or forgetful; however, the message was received from your IP address on the exact day that quote was sent to you. I consider the matter closed.

E Archer, NYC

While I am not a big fan of Carnegie, the quote has a ring of truth in it. The library is indeed for the masses, as those with means can buy their own books and have access to their own private libaraies. A library is a sanctuary for seekers of truth. I agree that those seekers of truth are few, but at least there are bastions for those that wish to read the words of less popular writers and ideas. Anyone who takes charge of their own education can become as learned as any Harvard graduate -- more so even. But how to inspire people to keep on questioning?

Online gamer, Xbox360

Damn you guys are some f**king newbs!

John Wu
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John Wu    1/15/10

Delete the post ahead of me, sorry kind of tired.....ha ha, but i like this quote because it basically says that you have to work for everything, which explains why Carnegie didn't like charity, because it was free and not need to work for.

E Archer, NYC

The difference between a library and a school, is that in a library I may study what I wish, in a school, I am 'taught' and have no choice in the subject matter.


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