Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in the railroad and steel industries. And he gave most of it away in order to help "those who, being most anxious and able to help themselves, deserve and will be benefited by help from others."
Between 1886 and 1919, Carnegie donated over $40 million to build 1,679 new community libraries. The Carnegie libraries contained open stacks, which allowed patrons to browse through the books themselves. Prior to the Carnegie Libraries, only librarians would be allowed into the stacks to retrieve books for patrons.