A History of the
Jefferson Carnegie Library

One of Jefferson's historical assets is the Carnegie Library, so-named because a gift from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie helped Jefferson construct the Carnegie Public Library back in 1907.

Andrew Carnegie was convinced of, and committed to, the notion that education was life's key. He was convinced of the power of public access to information. Early in life, he learned by studying in the library in Allegheny City, Pennslyvania. It was an experience he never forgot, and which motivated his campaign of world-wide library-building.

Carnegie built 2,811 free libraries in all. Of these, 1,946 were located in the United States at least one in every state except Rhode Island 660 in Britain and Ireland, 156 in Canada. A handful of libraries were also scattered in places like New Zealand, the West Indies and even Fiji. He spent $41,233,853.47 on libraries in the U.S. alone.

Jefferson's Carnegie Library is one of only a handful of operating Carnegie libraries in the United States. In fact, it is one of only five in the state of Texas. Most library buildings have reverted to other uses. In Jefferson, however, the Carnegie Library is still a cornerstone of the community.