Local Library, Global Passport

The Evolution of a Carnegie Library

Local Library, Global Passport

In this story about one Canadian town’s library, Patrick Boyer reveals universal patterns in love for reading and battles for books as librarians, politicians, newspaper editors, architects, educators, philanthropists, and avid readers mix it up for more than a century.

Boyer shows the local library as passport to a larger world for its individual patrons, and at the same time portrays it as an essential democratic institution whose contribution to the strength of a community is out of all proportion to its size or membership.

Several thousand Carnegie libraries were built a century ago when Andrew Carnegie, who’d risen from poverty to become the richest man in the world and vowed to donate all his money before he died, set about giving millions of people around the world the same “gift of reading” he’d enjoyed as a factory working boy having access to a library. Across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and other parts of the English-speaking world, Carnegie created “the free republic” of libraries. This is the story of one of them.

By placing the evolution of library service in the small Ontario town of Bracebridge from 1874 to the present day within the broader sweep of large cultural and economic patterns, Boyer engagingly provides a specific example of the universal transformation of books and information technologies, and the libraries that house them, over more than a century. Most readers will find endearing parallels with their own library experience.

Published for the 100th anniversary of Bracebridge’s Carnegie Library, Boyer’s 2008 book is an inspired effort to show patterns and perils that probably hold true for most local libraries – although some of the dramatic and comedic episodes here, surely unique, give this true story enough rich material for a feature movie.


A fine and engaging book by Patrick Boyer about the importance of libraries.” – Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada

In this important book, Patrick Boyer reminds us that to protect democracy, we have to protect the written word and free access to it.” – Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran

Patrick Boyer’s book appeals on many levels.” – William Young, Parliamentary Librarian, Ottawa

If an informed public is the foundation of a democracy, then libraries and a free press are like twin cornerstones. In Local Library, Global Passport, Patrick Boyer reminds us just how essential libraries and an unfettered press are to the functioning of democratic society.” – Diana Daniels, General Counsel of the Washington Post (1988-2007) and past president, Inter-American Press Association

Boyer colourfully and masterfully illuminates the gift libraries are to us as citizens and to democracies around the world.” – Dr. Pamela Ryan, Issues Deliberation Australia


Publisher: Blue Butterfly Books, 2008
Public libraries, Carnegie libraries, history, literary lore
Hard cover ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:
Hardcover $34.95; paperback $22.95, Canada and U.S.A.
362 pages, 6 x 9 inches
Foreword by former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, 167 photographs, index


Copyright © 2023 || Website Development by E-griculture.com