Sunday, December 24, 2006 Build Your Own Laser, Phaser, Ion Ray Gun and Other Working Space Age Projects: Books: Robert E. Iannini,Robert Iannini

I almost killed myself when I was a teen with this book. My finding it at the local library is the source of my undying admiration for Andrew Carnegie, who used his vast wealth to setup 2,500 libraries, and arguably is responsible for the existence of the modern library in america in it's present form.

Many of the things we take for granted in libraries, like the shelves of books being open to walk down and select by yourself (rather than asking a librarian to find something for you) and the ease of registering (rather than membership being restricted to some specific persons(students, guild members)), originated with the Carnegie plan libraries, and through sheer mass and expectation, many other library patrons and systems that may have been disinclined otherwise, followed suit and opened their stacks and their membership.

Carnegie opened libraries in every state except for Alaska, Delaware, and Rhode Island.

He also aspired to literary ambitions, both during and after his business careers. The only book he wrote that achieved any lasting fame was his "The Gospel of Wealth", in which he wrote about the great responsibility that being rich gave, as he was philosophically opposed to either 'lazy spending' giving millions in blanket or inefficient structures or for luxury goods. He wrote about the dangers of inherited wealth, and the possibility of a new generation of autocrats who ruled through great wealth that they did not earn.

A very interesting set of ideas, I thought.

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