While recognizing Carnegie Library as one of the Ten Most Beautiful Libraries in Georgia, Julie Walker, State Librarian for the Georgia Public Library Service, noted that it was chosen from among 409 public libraries throughout the State. Georgia built 30 libraries through Carnegie grants, 25 of which remain operating and two of which serve the Savannah area.
“Andrew Carnegie believed that libraries are democratic in nature and serve to lift people up,” said Walker. She also mentioned that libraries are much more than buildings. Libraries are a community of people from the staff that work in them, the public who use them, and the Library Trustees who govern them, to the funding agencies that support them such as the County Commissioners, City Officials, and Library Foundation Board members.
Carnegie Library opened its doors to the African American community in August of 1914 and was a cornerstone of African American accomplishment and education. It was a vibrant center of life then and continues to be so today. Through the hard work and vision of the founders, a legacy was created which continues to play a pivotal role within the community.
For more than 100 years, Carnegie Library has hosted hundreds of thousands of children, families and adult readers.
Two famous child patrons who grew up to hold nationally recognized roles, crediting their love of books and learning to their time in the stacks at Carnegie Library, are U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and Pulitzer Prize winning author James Alan McPherson. The Bull Street Library, Savannah’s second Carnegie grant-funded library, has been recognized as one of seven additional public libraries that “did not make the final 10 but whose architectural significance or spectacular settings make them equally worthy destinations for travelers.”