Saugerties Library marks centennial

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Photos by David Gordon

 

The Saugerties Public Library celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20, with a birthday cake, crafts for kids and parents and a talk by noted historian David Nasaw on the life of Andrew Carnegie, who used the bulk of his fortune to finance public libraries in communities across the country. The 100-year-old original section of the library was financed by Carnegie.

Nasaw is the author of a book on the life of Carnegie.

Carnegie was a complex figure, who raised himself from rags to riches and endowed libraries to allow working people to educate themselves while keeping his own employees on 12-hour shifts, making it virtually impossible for them to take advantage of the boon he provided, Nasau said.

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Carnegie believed that the wealthy have a responsibility to use their wealth to improve the lives of the poor. He provided the libraries and other services to help educate working people and alleviate poverty rather than donating to universities.

Children visiting the library were treated to cake and punch in the community room and craft activities in the children’s library. Boxes, old calendar pictures and assorted cutout pictures, ribbon, stickers and coloring materials were the basis for “secret gardens” created by kids and their parents. The library’s toy collection was also available for the visitors.

The celebration included a performance by the Saugerties Community Band on Sunday prior to the lecture on Carnegie.