Posted by: Brad Nixon | April 1, 2016

Library Stories

I often feature libraries of the American west here, including a recent story about the Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico. Look under “Architecture: Libraries” in the Categories in the right column to find other articles. Several of those articles are about Carnegie Libraries. 1,689 Carnegies were built in the United States, and others in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere: 2,509 in all.

Many survive, sometimes as libraries, in other places as community centers, museums or office buildings.

Fellow western traveler, Willard Nixon, has picked up on this practice, and has far exceeded me in the number of Carnegies he’s seen in his travels through the dusty, distant reaches of the West. Here are two of several dozen he’s photographed, and a few notes from him.

Ephraim, Utah:

Ephraim Utah Carnegie Willard Nixon (640x480)

Ephraim is near the center of Utah, in a valley between two arms of the Wasatch Range, south of Provo. The building dates from 1915, and is still the city library. Ephraim is also the home of Snow College.

Lakeport, California:

Lakeport CA Carnegie Willard Nixon (640x473)

Lakeport is on the west shore of the extremely large Clear Lake, in Lake County. It’s inland, southeast of Mendocino, and, like many places Willard’s been, is a bit off the beaten track. The building now houses scientists from the University of California at Davis doing research about Clear Lake. It’s situated in a city park, and Willard makes this his choice for the most attractive setting for a Carnegie library he’s seen.

Under Western Skies National Library Week Project

National Library Week 2016 is drawing nearer: April 10-16. I invite you to participate in the Under Western Skies National Library Week Project. Before April 6, I’d like to receive your reminiscences or observations about the role libraries have played in your life. I’ll feature your stories during National Library Week.

CLICK HERE to see the full details about submitting your contribution. I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to invite others, too.

I’ll tell you one library story of my own.

Here is a Carnegie Library.

Miami University

This is Alumni Library, now called Alumni Hall, on the campus of Miami University in Ohio. It was built in 1905 with a matching grant from Carnegie. A second grant in 1921 funded an addition to the original structure. It is no longer a library, but it was still the library when I attended Miami during my undergraduate years.

I spent a good deal of time there. One reason was that I had an abiding interest in the company of an extremely smart and studious young woman I’d met. If you want to spend time with a devoted student, then you angle for good places to study together. The library stacks were quiet, had study tables, and it was a rather picturesque atmosphere, in its way. I was a serious student, by the way, and, yes, we studied.

What happened to that studious young brunette? She did a number of things in subsequent years, including get a J.D. degree and practice law, hence the nickname by which she appears in this blog: The Counselor. She’s just down the hall in her office. We still go to the library together here in California, and travel to see other Carnegies, as well as the rest of the world, too. The wheel turns ’round.

I look forward to hearing your library tales.

© Brad Nixon 2016, 2017. Two library photos © Willard Nixon 2017, used by kind permission. Alumni Hall photo © Miami University 2016.


  1. A nice memoir. Brings back fond memories of Miami.


  2. Last summer I stumbled across the Chatham Public Library in upstate NY. A beauty, still standing proud and operating.
    In 1902, a red oak was planted there and It’s now the oldest Arbor Day tree in New York. Gives you a feel for the folks who tend the town and its gems. The library was completed in 1905 with a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. An added delight of this building is an original Tiffany window. Carnegie’s reach was awesome. THX for visiting and adding to my knowledge of libraries. Toni

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that addition to the long list of Carnegies and the understanding communities worldwide demonstrate of the importance of local libraries.

      Liked by 1 person

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