Independent publisher Pikku is hoping to remind children about the importance of libraries with a new picture book about Andrew Carnegie, who funded more than 600 libraries in the UK and Ireland.
Pikku founder Elena Mannion is publishing The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story of Andrew Carnegie after buying the UK and European rights from the original Canadian publisher, Owl Kids.
“This book struck me as incredibly timely given what is happening here [with cuts in library services].” She told The Bookseller. “Carnegie’s life was quite amazing. He was a self-made billionaire from Dunfermline who emigrated to America and eventually became a steel magnate… He built more than 2,500 libraries worldwide and most of his libraries are still in use. Our culture would look quite different without him."
The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story for Andrew Carnegie, written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Katty Maurey, is a picture book which tells the story of Carnegie’s life, from his birth in Scotland to his life as an immigrant and becoming one of the richest philanthropists of his day.
Pikku will publish the title, aimed at 5-9 year-olds, in May (p/b, £8.99), and Mannion hopes that library campaigners will help promote the book. “It’s so important that children don’t take libraries for granted. There is no other book like this out there – there was one in the 90s but I’m sure it’s out of print now,” she said.
According to the Carnegie Corporation of New York, his love of reading began as a teenager when a Pennsylvania citizen, Colonel James Anderson, opened his library to local working boys.
As an adult he founded 2,509 libraries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, spending $55m (£41m) of his personal wealth.
However, more than 100 libraries closed down in recent months according to figures released by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in December. During the 12 months to April 2017, the number of libraries in Great Britain fell by 2.7% to 3,745, with 105 shutting down. In addition, £66m was slashed from libraries' budgets over the course of 12 months. This number rises to 449 across England, Scotland and Wales since austerity measures began in 2012.
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