If you grew up anywhere around Clarksdale and needed to do research or find a good book, then you know where Carnegie Library is. When I was a kid the book mobile pulling up on Front Street from Carnegie excited me so much. That was way before internet, facebook and you tube. We had only four television channels if we were lucky so people read a lot more. Even though I lived in Tunica county, my parents made sure we had a library card for Clarksdale and Coahoma County because that was the best library anywhere around. I didn’t know who Carnegie was then, but I liked his library.
The Carnegie Library in Clarksdale was one of nearly 1,700 libraries established by donations from Andrew Carnegie across the United States. Andrew Carnegie had came to this country as an immigrant and by hard work had become one of the wealthiest men in the world. Carnegie became rich through his steel company and railroads. Before his death, he gave away $350 million dollars to a variety of charities from church organs to advancing education. Cities across the nation applied for these grants but only a small number were approved if they met all the guidelines set down by the Carnegie organization. By 1920, eleven of these Carnegie libraries had been built in Mississippi. These were at Clarksdale, Greenwood, Gulfport, Houston, Jackson, two in Meridian, Mound Bayou, Okolona, Vicksburg and West Point. Only three still function as libraries. These are at Houston, Okolona and Clarksdale. Clarksdale received it’s grant on November 21, 1911 for $10,000. The library opened April 14, 1914.
The Carnegie Library has been extended since it was first built to include a large area for research, books and magazines.
The original section of the library contains offices, displays of Native American pottery and a Mississippi Room for genealogists.
Carnegie Public Library Hours: Monday – Thursday. 9 am to 5:30 pm. Saturday 9-1. closed Sunday.
Address: 114 Delta Avenue. P.O. Box 280. Clarksdale, MS. 38614
Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Bright- National Park Service. nps.gov