Tag Archives: John James Audubon

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.

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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…

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Many people have mentioned Star Trek apparently…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Because really the shelves are endless…

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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?

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