Shelves full of books
Very shallow depth of focus. Diminishing Perspective.

Chapter and Verse about Liverpool’s Libraries

Liverpool will be showcasing its libraries service to library professionals from across the UK at a major conference this week.

Taking place on 7 and 8 July in the Exhibition Centre, it will be a wonderful opportunity for Liverpool’s libraries team to show off our amazing 19 locations and shout about the great service we offer in the city.

It’s also about sharing experiences with other professionals about new ways of working in a post-pandemic world in which data, information and knowledge are crucial drivers of innovation, the information and knowledge professions will be central to delivering services that have a positive impact on society.

Nearly 1.8 million people visit our libraries each year – that’s more than the annual number of football fans who attend Liverpool and Everton FC home matches.

And if that’s whetted your appetite, here are some other fascinating library facts.

The top 5 most borrowed books from Liverpool Libraries in 2022 are:

  • The Thursday Murder Club           Richard Osman
  • The Time of Our Lives                   Linda Page
  • The Man Who Died Twice             Richard Osman
  • Not Dark Yet                                 Peter Robinson
  • The Night Hawks                          Emily Griffiths
  • The Picton Reading Room in Central Library was the first building in the city with electric lighting. Lighting consisted of four electric arc lamps on ornamental oak columns, and shaded by an inverted umbrella of opal glass which can still be seen today.
  • The oldest printed book in library storage is Matthaeus de Cracovia  ‘Dialogus rationis et conscientiae’  from 1459.
  • The oldest manuscript is from the 12th century – Petri Lombardi ‘Psalterium cum comment’  
  • The Liverpool Record Office contained within Liverpool Central Library is the second busiest record office in the UK after the National Archives at Kew.
  • The youngest person to join the library in the last year was 1 day old
  • Liverpool’s libraries offer a music parts service to loan. Local drama groups and musicians have access to 2,000 orchestral sets and 2,000 vocal scores

Our libraries also boast their fair share of rare books, which include:

  • Edward Lear sketches and wash drawings to illustrate travels in Italy  1838-40.
  • Luigi Lanzi ‘History of painting in Italy’ 1828 . William Roscoe’s copy with original Raphael drawing and other old masters.
  • Robert Blair  ‘The grave: a poem’ 1813  with original sepia drawing by William Blake.
  • David Roberts  The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia  1842-49.
  • Thomas Moore   Paradise and the Peri. Peacock binding 1910.

And it’s not all a focus on the old – Liverpool Central library is the hub of the Business and IP Centre and between April 2021 – March 2022, more than 1,500 people received business support from the centre.

Find out more about our libraries and all the services they offer by visiting

Liverpool Waterfront