The Livingston-Park County Public Library, which was built in 1904, is one of the original Carnegie libraries. There were only a few public libraries in the world in 1881 when Andrew Carnegie began to promote the establishment of free public libraries to make a means of self-education available to the nation’s changing workforce. He eventually spent over $56 million to build 2,509 libraries throughout the English-speaking world.
The first Livingston Library, which opened in 1901, occupied a room in City Hall and included a collection of 520 volumes. The library was established by members of the Yellowstone Club, a local chapter of the Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs. This group encouraged the purchase of five lots on the corner of Callender and Third Streets as a permanent library site and sought funding from Andrew Carnegie for construction of the library building.
Since the original Carnegie building opened in October 1904, the library has been expanded twice, once in 1978 and again in 2005.
Determined to escape poverty, Andrew Carnegie amassed a personal fortune and then gave away millions:
“The taste for reading is one of the most precious possessions of life. …The man who enters a library is in the best society this world affords; the good and the great welcome him, surround him, and humbly ask to be allowed to become his servants; and if he himself, from his own earnings, contributes to its support, he is more of a man than before.”