Andrew Carnegie credited libraries with opening the "treasures of knowledge and imagination through which youth may ascend." This belief led him to provide funding for more than 1,600 libraries across the United States. Designed by local architect Edwin A. Bowd, Lansing's library was typical of Carnegie libraries. Its simple style featured a classical facade that suggested a return to the enlightened days of antiquity. The original interior included spaces with specific functions, such as the reading room and the children's room, as well as an auditorium on the second floor. The libraries interior design reflected changing cultural attitudes toward the role of libraries in the United States, as libraries put more emphasis on public access, especially use by children and young adults.