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Grant upgrades Livingstone College's historic Carnegie Library
$1M in federal funds project for HBCU building
Published Monday, June 8, 2020 5:59 pm
by Kimberly Harrington | Special to The Post

Livingstone College's Carnegie Library has been awarded $1 million to rehabilitate the Andrew Carnegie Library as part of a program administered by the National Park Service.

SALISBURY – In under two years, Livingstone College has been awarded a total $1 million to rehabilitate the historic Andrew Carnegie Library on campus.

The National Park Service announced the first award in 2018. The second grant award was made this spring, a welcomed announcement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The award was made possible through the Historically Black Colleges and Universities grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund and administered by the National Park Service. It is part of $7.7 million in grants to 18 projects in 12 states for the preservation of historic structures on campuses of HBCUs.

The first grant award was designated for Phase I, which included the engineering architectural survey, water infiltration work to stabilize the foundation, and roof repairs/replacement.
“We were able to complete the engineering and architectural survey of the condition of the building before the coronavirus pre-empted further work,” said Carolyn Duncan, Livingstone’s grant writer. “We expect work to proceed again in June.”

The grant will be used to complete Phase II, which includes installing an HVAC system to adequately heat and cool the building, keeping the climate at a temperature that will help extend the life of paper documents, which consists of  historical African-American archives and memorabilia; replacing outdated electrical wiring and increasing electrical outlets throughout the building; replacing obsolete light fixtures throughout and providing adequate lighting; situating Ethernet portals and internet charging stations for students and patrons; and repairing plaster and painting the inside of the building, Duncan said.

The library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is named after the 19th century industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who funded many libraries with 18 of them being on the campuses of HBCUs. But there are only two academic libraries that were allowed to use the donor’s first name: the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, and Livingstone.

Livingstone’s library was funded with $12,500 in 1905 at the behest of Booker T. Washington. The library was designed by Robert Robinson Taylor, the nation's first academically trained African American architect. Many of the bricks were fired in the campus kiln and masonry students laid many of the bricks.

“I am so pleased that we were able to get the additional funds. Now we will really be able to repair the infrastructure of the building and work toward our goal of making the Andrew Carnegie Library at Livingstone a repository for North Carolina history,” said Laura Johnson, Livingstone's library director.

In 2017, Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins designated a Federal Grants and Contracts Committee, which began seeking a funding project. The committee started collecting historical information, quotes from contractors and input from people such as Karen Hobson of the Historic Salisbury Foundation.

Duncan led the project and at the time was vice president of academic affairs. Under her new role as director of grants, student scholarships and special projects, she has secured $1 million for the library as well as a $500,000 grant to help fix up the historic Monroe Street School, which is property of the college.

“Dr. Duncan and the grants committee are doing an outstanding job in securing the funds we need to bring our library up to date with 21st century amenities while preserving its historical character,” Jenkins said. “We are grateful to the National Park Service’s program that helps to honor the legacy of HBCUs.”


What a nice gift. This has made my day after dealing with this virus that has hurt all of us. You folks deserve this. My mom graduated from here and was a student in the undergraduate Library Science Program that trained many school librarians of color. Mom also was a History Major and an English minor. She went onto start the forst community library for African-American adults and was.located in rural Davie families in the Main (Davie County). Mom was also a third and fourth grade teacher as well as a history teacher at the old Central Davie Elementary/High School in Mocksville. She also was a substitute teacher at RA Cleeeement School in Woodleaf,NC(Rowan County,NC). One of her nephews Dr. Bill Tabor graduated with honors from Central Davie High School and later on became the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Clinton Junior College in Rock Hill,SC.
Posted on August 10, 2020

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