Central Library is based in the Waterford city centre, close to the main shopping areas. It is housed in a listed Carnegie Building (originally opened in 1904) and was extensively renovated and extended in 2004. The library now stretches over three public floors. This is an award winning building and was part of the Irish Architecture Foundation's “Lives of Spaces” exhibition in 2008 at the Venice Biennale.
The Library won the highest award (gold) in the category “Library as heart of the Community” in the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (UK and Ireland) Library Building Awards in 2006. It was the first to be built of Ireland's many Carnegie libraries. The philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who had previously opened libraries in Scotland and the USA, himself laid the foundation stone in 1903. Central Library is one of the free things to do in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Central Library also houses the Index Gallery, where many contemporary art exhibitions are held. The Index Gallery aims to support the arts and artists in Waterford City by offering a contemporary exhibition space and is a natural extension of the Library’s role in the community. It provides a free of charge space for art exhibits which reflect the diverse cultural interests of the City, bringing art into the heart of the community. The gallery is equally accessible to amateurs, professionals, community groups and organisations.
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