THE WOMAN whose persuasive powers led to Keighley library being built will be brought ‘back to life’.

Mrs Carnegie will speak about how she encouraged husband Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish/American industrialist, to give away his fortune to build free public libraries.

Keighley Local Studies Library is hosting the theatrical performance on Saturday October 12 between 10.30am to noon to celebrate National Libraries Week.

Local playwright, actor and historian Irene Lofthouse will play Louise Whitfield Carnegie in the centenary year of the death of her husband, who was one of the richest men in history and a leading global philanthropist.

Keighley’s historic Carnegie Library, opening in 1904, was the first library in England to be funded by Andrew Carnegie with a grant of £10,000, but it was his wife, New York born Louise Whitfield Carnegie, who began the story.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “This promises to be an informative, entertaining and unique insight into the influence of this remarkable woman in developing libraries around the world and the story started in Keighley.”

The performance will be accompanied by displays from Keighley’s Local Studies and archives collection. The event is free, and suitable for all ages.

For further information, call the Keighley Local Studies Library on 01535 618215 or email

Mrs Carnegie, born in 1857 in Manhattan, continued making charitable donations to organisations after her husband’s death, including the American Red Cross and Second World War relief funds.