In 1985, one hundred fifty years after the birth of Andrew Carnegie, the Kansas State Library published "The Carnegie Legacy in Kansas," a work in which Carnegie’s role in the development of Kansas library service is explored, uniquely and with startling immediacy, through examination of the 59 public libraries he helped to construct in the state.
On April 21, 1987, the State Historic Preservation Office nominated 28 of the Carnegie libraries in Kansas for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
Allen Gardiner, a native Kansan, brought to this project the enthusiasm and the personal investment in its success that only an architecture-loving librarian of Scottish-American descent with penchants for history and writing could offer. As Public Library Consultant for the State Library at the time, he also brought a knowledge of present-day public library service in Kansas as up-to-date as any. Though much has changed since the "later history" of the book, the blending of the two approaches still answers Gardiner’s question from the Foreword:
"What we have succeeded in doing is presenting the stories of the fifty-nine library buildings that Carnegie erected, as well as the stories of the libraries themselves, as institutions, for who can separate the story of a building from the story of the institution connected with it?"
In 1997 Preservation Press/John Wiley & Sons, Inc. published Carnegie Libraries Across America; A Public Legacy, by Theodore Jones. The Carnegie Legacy is listed in the "Selected Bibliography" and Gardiner in the "Acknowledgments".
At this writing, Gardiner is the author of 28 published books. The latest two, Fremont: A Modern History of an All-American City and Antelope Valley; An Illustrated History, are available at http://www.imprintpublications.com/bookstore.html .
For the past 2 years Allen has been composing classical music and hopes to release his first CD in 2003. He has also become known for his photography. There's more about Allen Gardiner in the book. You may contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Putting the Book Online
Making "The Carnegie Legacy in Kansas" available in an online format was an idea arrived at from many different directions. The State Library, as the host of the website Blue Skyways, a crossroads of libraries, history, digital technology, and most of all, community, could see in this book the essence of everything Skyways hopes to be, in one package. Those who helped out may have come to the project interested in the history, the process of digitization, or in the cultural relevance of hard-learned lessons of the past in politics and social development.
As a faithful translation of the original into a new format, we believe our work will prove successful and valuable. We have hopes for more – it is our intent to work with libraries and communities to update and extend the information here with more recent developments, additions to the lists of library directors, and more illustrations.
As written over seventeen years ago, the book left the reader with a clear impression of the role these buildings and their attainment played in what these libraries and communities are today. As an enriched and expanded resource of today, it can continue to speak to all of us and our connection with our heritage. If we can pass on what we have been given and add something of ourselves to it, then we will truly have left a legacy.
The Carnegie Legacy on line project involved people from three organizations and about a year of effort: