The Carnegie Library is opposite the Derek Walcott Square in 1923. It was built under the supervision of Liburn E. Lawrence, of the island’s public works department, with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), the rich American philanthropist, financed several libraries in the Caribbean, stipulating that they should be free and accessible to all. There had been attempts to establish reading rooms in the 1840s but these always floundered after a year or so. In 1904 he offered £2,500 for the erection of a building and the funds were granted in 1916. But it took several years to decide where to build it.
The corner-stone was finally laid on 15 May 1923 by Mrs Annie Davidson-Houston (1877-1940), wife of Major Wilfred Davidson-Houston (1870-1960), the island’s Administrator from 1918 to 1927.
The library was gutted by fire in both 1927 and 1948, but restored by 1958 at which point it was renamed the Central Library of Saint Lucia. In 1979 two additional rooms were built with a grant from the World Development, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDS) and the Manitoba Association, creating the adult reading and circulation department. Further improvements were underway in 2011, with additional construction and repairs and the introduction of air conditioning.