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Dissertation Information for George Sylvan Bobinski

- George Sylvan Bobinski

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (1966)

- Russell E. Bidlack

- Wallace J. Bonk
- William Raymond Leslie
- Raymond L. Kilgour

MPACT Status: Fully Complete


Abstract: This study presents a history of Carnegie public library philanthropy and evaluates its effect on the development of public libraries in the United States. The original correspondence of the 1,637 towns which requested Carnegie grants, special reports of the Carnegie Corporation, published contemporary and current reaction to these gifts, questionnaires sent to Carnegie libraries, and correspondence from prominent librarians and Carnegie Corporation officials who were active during or shortly after the period of Carnegie philanthropy constitute the major sources for this work.

A picture is given of all those who played important roles in the public library benefactions-- Andrew Carnegie and his motivations, James Bertram, his private secretary and later secretary of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, who played a key role (he passed on all requests and handled the correspondence and day-to-day operations of library grants.) William Howard Brett and other librarians who were of great assistance, and Alvin Johnson who made a survey and recommendations concerning this program for the corporation.

Over $40 million for 1,679 buildings was donated to 1,412 communities in forty six states between 1886 and 1917. Detailed charts by region, state, city, year of offer, and cost show the extent and distribution of the gifts. Extensive analysis is also given regarding the unaccepted Carnegie grants.

The mechanics of this distribution of libraries and the problems involved are described. Difficulties frequently encountered by the towns reviving grants as well as the 225 communities which allowed offers to lapse were finding a suitable site for the library, fulfilling the annual maintenance pledge (10 per cent of the amount donated for the building), and meeting architectural requirements.

In conclusion an evaluation is given of Andrew Carnegie's effect on public library development. By 1898, when Andrew Carnegies began his public library philanthropy on a grand scale, the public library was already an established, though young and a struggling institution. The number of public libraries had grown from 188 in 1876 to 971 (having 1,000 volumes or more) in 1896. Almost two-thirds of the communities receiving a building grant from Carnegie already had or were in the process of organizing a public library. But he was a very great stimulant to library development. His philanthropy made more libraries and more books available to more people. By 1923 there were 3,873 public libraries in the United States. Furthermore, Carnegie widened the acceptance of the principle of local responsibility for the public library. The Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has continued the benefactions of Carnegie, ended gifts for public library buildings in 1917 but has supported public libraries through donations to library education and the American Library Association, and by grants for centralized library services, projects, and special studies such as the Public Library Inquiry and Public Library Standards. Public library development in the United States has had four important phases of growth. The public library enabling laws beginning in the 1850's were the first stimulus. Carnegie's gifts to public libraries were the second. A third major stimulus could well be attributed to the library activities of the Carnegie Corporation. We are now living in the fourth, that of the stimulus of federal support. And yet, even this latest development has come about to a great extent as the result of the influence of Andrew Carnegie's and the Carnegie Corporation's library activities.

MPACT Scores for George Sylvan Bobinski

A = 8
C = 4
A+C = 12
T = 12
G = 2
W = 8
TD = 10
TA = 1
calculated 2008-07-07 17:50:01

Advisors and Advisees Graph

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Students under George Sylvan Bobinski

- Barbara B. Moran - SUNY, Buffalo (1982)
- Ravindra Nath Sharma - SUNY, Buffalo (1983)
- Peter Paul Olevnik - SUNY, Buffalo (1985)
- Patricia Ohl Rice - SUNY, Buffalo (1986)
- Francis Xavier Roberts - SUNY, Buffalo (1986)
- Gemma DeVinney - SUNY, Buffalo (1987)
- Soelistia Warsito - SUNY, Buffalo (1988)
- Gail M. Staines - SUNY, Buffalo (1993)

- Mekhag B. Abdo - SUNY, Buffalo (1986)
- Sarah Yoo - SUNY, Buffalo (1988)
- Filiberto Felipe Martinez-Arellano - SUNY, Buffalo (1996)
- Luozhu Cen - SUNY, Buffalo (1996)