Within the Building


The Writers Reference Room provides an inviting space for writers of all stages to write, use our FREE Wi-Fi, and peruse reference materials. A variety of references are available on writing skills and the business end of writing, including a section for job seekers. This room has free-access to a variety of Writers Market books, literary journals and magazines, as well as a collection of works by Kentucky authors–both living and deceased–to further promote the reading and study of these books. Writers who need a temporary office find one in the Writers Reference Room.

HOURS OF OPERATION*: During Carnegie Center business hours
* Writing groups, workshops, and meetings use this room, so call ahead to ensure that the space is available.

The Carnegie Center’s Laurie S. Bottoms Gallery hosts six to eight art exhibits per year, featuring work by local professional artists in all mediums, as well as work by high school and college students. The center participates in Lexington’s Gallery Hop, offered five times per year. The gallery is named in memory of the center’s founding director. For information or inquiries about exhibits, contact Luisa Trujillo: Luisa@carnegiecenterlex.org

The Family Learning Center provides programming that encourages families to learn together, parents to be involved in their child’s education, and youth and families to find joy in reading, writing, and learning new things. The Family Learning Center officially opened in June 2008 using a blend of technology, reading and tutor resource materials, learning games, and other tools to stimulate learning. We invite families to use this space and materials to enhance family learning.

Housed in the original Lexington Public Library building, the Carnegie Center loves to share in the rich history of our location.  The building’s cornerstone was laid in 1902 and opened to the public in 1905.  This library was loved and enjoyed by many Lexingtonians throughout the 1980’s.  Our patrons fondly remember climbing to the children’s library section, which is now home to the center’s Family Learning Center.

After Lexington’s Public Library moved to a larger location in 1989, the original Carnegie library building quickly deteriorated, showing signs of neglect.   Some people wanted to demolish the building; others wanted to renovate it for condominiums. People like Lexington Mayor Scotty Baesler wanted to see the building restored for public use. The Mayor created a committee of community leaders and asked them to find a new use for the building. In keeping with the beliefs of the original funder, Andrew Carnegie, the group decided to create a community learning and arts center like no other in the country. In a state known for illiteracy and where school test scores on writing are low, there are also a surprising number of nationally-recognized writers.

This knowledge helped shape the Carnegie program design.

After an extensive restoration, the building was ready for its new resident: The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. First Lady Barbara Bush, who was the guest speaker at the 1992 dedication, said, “This center is going to reach out to everyone—families, workers, students, and teachers.  And that’s what communities throughout the nation need to learn to do.” Since that time, the center has helped thousands of people of all ages, races, income levels, and educational backgrounds with their goals for writing, reading, and learning new things.

Thank you for thinking of the Carnegie Center as the location to host your event. We are excited to have you use our building. Here is some additional information regarding your use of our space:

During our regular building hours: Monday through Thursday 10:00 am -7:30 pm; Friday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm the cost to rent the building is $100/hr ($50/hr for non-profits), which includes tables, chairs, PA, speakers, mic, etc. For rentals outside of regular hours the cost is $150/hr ($100/hr) with a minimum of $750 (total of 5 hours and may include set-up/breakdown). There is also a $125 cleaning fee for all rentals outside of regualr business hours. This cost not only covers sweeping/mopping the floors following your event, but also the bathrooms. In addition this minimal fee helps cover the cost of toilet paper, trash bags, light bulbs, Wi-Fi, etc. Half of your total rental fee is due with the contract to reserve the space. Your remaining balance is due no later than the day of your event. At least one staff member will be working in the building during your event, in case of an emergency.

Renter Responsibilities: While we’d like to provide support in any way we can, due to our small staff we are unable to assist with other planning aspects leading up to and including the day of the event. The renter will be responsible for all aspects of event coordination, including:

  • SET-UP & CLEAN-UP: The room will be left clean, but not set-up. You will be responsible for all set-up/clean-up, including moving all chairs/tables back to their original location.
  • Renter is responsible for taking all trash to curb.
  • We do not have a preferred caterer. Renter may bring in their own drinks and food.
  • ADVERTISING: This includes marketing, making and distributing flyers, etc. We can provide general directions to our building, but do not plan to make our staff the contact for guests of your event.
  • For pricing, available dates and additional information, please contact Jessica Faye Mohler (859.254.4175) or Jmohler@carnegiecenterlex.org.