Joplin Carnegie Library
Joplin’s Carnegie Library is one of the earliest libraries in Missouri to be funded by the eminent philanthropist. The library movement in Joplin began as early as the 1890s, but it wasn’t until citizens voted in favor of public funding for a library in 1901 that Carnegie was contacted and $40,000 was secured for the building’s construction. Prominent regional architect, August Michaelis, was selected to design the two-story, Neoclassical Revival style structure which he chose to build with marble from nearby Carthage, Missouri. In 1916 a two-story addition was built and a skylight added above the main desk. By the 1960s a structural analysis determined that the second floor was not capable of supporting the weight of books. In 1981 a new library was opened, the contents of the Carnegie building were auctioned off, and the building was sold. Over the last thirty years the building suffered from severe neglect and vandalism. A spring 2022 report indicated that issues were relatively minimal for a 120-year-old building, giving hope to those advocating for its rehabilitation and leading to a promising negotiation between the owner and a local nonprofit. However, in June 2022 a fire broke out in the basement resulting in severe damage. The Joplin Carnegie Library is now more endangered than ever and it is hoped that listing the building as a Place in Peril will aid local efforts to find a viable solution to save this historic library building.