Carnegie Library Project

Honoring the Carnegie Legacy in Montana

Calling all history nerds! WE NEED HISTORIC PHOTOS for our Montana Carnegie Library Project.

Do you have any historic (pre-1950) photos or postcards of the Chinook, Malta, Havre, Glasgow, Hardin and Red Lodge Carnegie libraries (interior or exterior)?

If so, please send them to [email protected] or call Charlene Porsild at (406) 449-3770.

Carnegie Library in Lewistown, MT. Photo credit: Tom Ferris

The history:

  • Between 1893 and 1919, Andrew Carnegie granted funds to construct nearly 1,700 free public libraries across the United States. City officials, women’s clubs and businesses joined together in seventeen Montana communities to meet the requirements and successfully build those libraries. Fifteen Carnegie Library buildings survive in Montana today. Nine are still public libraries.
  • One-hundred years after the last Carnegie Library was built in Montana, the History Foundation is collaborating with librarians and other community members to preserve and interpret Andrew Carnegie’s important legacy.

The project:

  • The History Foundation is creating a book that will capture the rich Carnegie Library history in Montana. This book will be available to the public in Fall 2019. 
  • Book proceeds will be contributed to preservation projects specific to restoring the fifteen remaining Carnegie Libraries in Montana. Original architectural components and materials are expensive to reproduce and repair; effective operation and maintenance of these century-old buildings is daunting; physical obstacles like lath and plaster walls can hinder interior upgrades and retrofitting.

How you can help: 

Your gift of any amount will help preserve the Carnegie legacy. 

  • $500 will help fund interpretive signs in each of the fifteen Montana Carnegie library buildings honoring Andrew Carnegie’s vision and the community’s commitment to education and literacy
  • $4,000 will fund a Carnegie library presentation local communities
  • $14,000 could fund a traveling exhibit about Montana’s Carnegie libraries
  • $20,000 will help produce an illustrated history of the libraries

Surviving Carnegie Libraries in Montana:



CommunityCurrent Purpose (2017)Year Awarded by Carnegie
Big Timber Sweetgrass County Public Library1911
BozemanCok Kinzler PLLP [law office]1902
ChinookBear Paw Co-Op [education center]1918
DillonDillon Public Library1902
Fort BentonChouteau County Library1916
Great FallsDemolished 1960s1901
GlasgowDemolished 1960s1907
HamiltonBitterroot Public Library1914
Hardin Big Horn County Library1916
HavreOld Library Gallery [closed]1913
KalispellHockaday Museum of Art1901
Lewistown Lewistown Public Library1905
LivingstonLivingston-Park County Public Library1903
MaltaB&B (under renovation)1917
Miles CityMiles City Public Library1901
MissoulaMissoula Art Museum1903
Red LodgeRed Lodge Carnegie Library1914