A Library Reborn…

I mentioned earlier in the week, when I was asking which five books you would fill a library with first, that I had the pleasure of a sneak preview tour of Liverpool’s all new and revamped library. Well today I thought I would share some pictures of what the stunning £50,000,000 make over and restoration book project has achieved because there is no question that it is one of the most impressive libraries I have ever been around and one which should prove a destination for book lovers all around the world as a complete book haven.


From the outside of the library it looks very like many central library’s around the UK, a grand Victorian building constructed in grandeur and stone that is built to last. Indeed the facade is from the 1800’s and is Grade II listed. What it has hidden behind it though is rather like something out of a science fiction novel or the future…


Many people have mentioned Star Trek apparently…


Isn’t that just incredible!?! Normally I am not a fan of knocking down building and leaving the facade but a) I think this entrance will bring people flocking from miles around to have a nosey and encourage people locally to do the same getting more readers via inquisitive footfall b) they didn’t knock the original down but a 1970’s ugly edition that had replaced it prior. So in this case I am all for what they have done and love the welcoming ‘Read’ section where all the contemporary fiction is housed with its matching contemporary feel and shelves that light up.


As you go on through the building each floor is dedicated to a different zone. ‘Discover’ is a library for children I could only have dreamed of in my youth…


Further floors about include ‘Enquire’, for all your reference and academic books as well as ‘Archive’ which if you want to learn about the past, not only of Liverpool, has the most exceptional resources…


It made me feel like I was in a movie and could go and solve some cold case murder. Anyway… You also have the top floor which is named ‘Meet’ where there are meeting rooms as well as the most amazing roof terrace which I think you will find me on for most of the summer sat with a book frankly.


Though if you don’t like heights maybe take the lift back down afterwards…


What is also amazing is apart from all this modern wonder the restoration project has been amazing. Both ‘The Oak Room’ and ‘The Hornby Library’ were rooms the public had not been able to use since their construction in 1914 and so were storage rooms. Now they have been restored to the initial glory and are area’s where you can see rare books from all around the world through all points in history.


We even got to see them bringing out John James Audubon’s massive ‘Birds of America’, described as the greatest natural history book ever produced which was oddly thrilling.


My favourite room of all, though room seems slightly inadequate as it’s gargantuan really, is the Picton Reading Room which too has been restored to its former glory and houses all the ‘reading only’ copies of books as well as the ‘reserved’ central stock.


The reserved stock looks amazing, I was thinking of all the out of print or special older editions of books that might be found…


Because really the shelves are endless…


Isn’t it amazing? You can tell where I am going to be spending a lot of time on and off over the coming months and years. I am actually thinking of moving in and seeing if anyone notices? Do you think I would get away with it? It certainly highlights what a library can be in the modern world, if only everyone saw every little library as important as the people here have the central library. We need them after all don’t we?


Filed under Random Savidgeness

35 responses to “A Library Reborn…

  1. Wow! It looks amazing!! My parents live in the north west so next time I visit I’m going to have to try and get to Liverpool to visit this library.

  2. FANTABULOUS! I want to move in with you. I didn’t know Liverpool had a library like that. Kudos to Liverpool!! 😀

  3. It was referred to in the press the other day as “the Beyoncé of libraries”! It does look stunning.

  4. looks stunning simon ,thanks for the tour ,really must go and see it in the flesh ,all the best stu

  5. MaureenD

    It looks absolutely amazing. I wonder if they will have some “Sleepover in the Library” events – I would love to be there!

  6. gaskella

    How wonderful – aren’t you lucky to have this resource to hand.

  7. I shudder to think that anything would be referred to as “the Beyoncé of libraries,” but it does look very cool.

  8. Barbara B.

    I live in California and planning a trip to England in October. My plans already included seeing the Beatles Museum in Liverpool so now I will include visiting this beautiful library. Thanks for the travel suggestion – can’t wait!

  9. This looks absolutely immense and MAY be worth the train ride 😀 I might have to gate crash in on you some time and you can give me the tour!
    I am hoping and praying that the extensive project happening at the Manchester Central Library at the mo is going to match up to this….a lot to live up to though…

    • MAY be worth the train ride, are you mad? It is TOTALLY worth the train ride. What is going on with the new Manchester library by the way? I thought it was opening this year?

  10. Oh wow! It’s stunning. That roof terrace is an absolutely perfect idea, at least for the few days we get in the North West that are sunny enough to use it. Like Lucy, I am really looking forward to finding out what’s being done with Manchester’s Central Library. If it turns out anything like as nice as this I’ll be delighted. And if not, well, Liverpool is just a short train ride away…

    • I wonder what is going on with Manchester. I thought it was meant to be opening this year, I will definitely be travelling over when it does… to check out the competition, if nothing else.

  11. JoV

    Thanks for showing me how beautiful Liverpool library is! Magnificent and elegant. A great respect for knowledge and books.

  12. kim pryke

    thanks Simon for posting this blog, love the photos of the new library, if I ever get to Liverpool I will be going to check out this beautiful library. I live in Australia and like listening to the Readers and You Wrote the Book, your blog is wonderful, keep up the good work and thanks for posting these lovely photos, if you took the pics you have another talent besides talking and writing. Cheers, Kim Pryke, Lilydale Victoria.

    • Awwwww Kim that is such a lovely comment, thank you so much. Is lovely to hear from people who hear me over iTunes and pop by. Lovely, lovely. You might like this weeks episode coming, I go all Australian with my book choices!

  13. danielbrevitt

    Just had my first gander today. A world apart from the ghastly confines of the museum down the road. And words cannot describe the relief of being able to access a wealth of print without first having to brook crowds of antic school children (adorable as the little devils are).

  14. What I’d give to spend just a couple of hours in the Picton Reading Room!

  15. Amy C

    That looks amazing! I just wish I didn’t live so far away or I would visit it in a heartbeat.

  16. I went to see the new library on Light Night and it IS stunning – I’m really proud that the city has spent the money on such an important building and it definitely will be a tourist attraction. I’ve been perusing the shelves of the Picton room with glee – in particular because they have lots of books by Michael Innes (one of my favourite crime writers and sadly underappreciated despite how witty and cyncial his books are). So I too plan to spend a lot of my time there.
    Sending good thoughts for you and Granny Savidge.

    • I wonder if we are allowed to take the books in the Picton room out. I really need to ask when I go in there next. It would be lovely if we could, I only wonder as some of them are out of print so they wouldnt want them going missing (not that I would steal them obviously), only one way to find out though really isnt there. Ask!

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