The Grade II listed library on the corner of Green Lane and Lister Drive dates back to 1905, when it was built with funding from Scottish Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. As today marks Carnegie’s birthday, what better way to show continued appreciation of the value and significance of his donation.
The Old Library served the local community for 100 years, but closed down in 2006 due to health and safety concerns, and the building fell into disrepair. Now, a new grant of £3.9m from Heritage Lottery Fund is set to breathe new life into the building. The newly renovated space will function as a focal point for the local community, whilst also offering invaluable services for the residents of Tuebrook, Old Swan, Stoneycroft, and West Derby.
Gaynor Williams, CEO at Lister Steps, said: “This is a bright new chapter for the area, and one that we’re really excited to be involved in. When Andrew Carnegie opened the library in 1905, he envisioned that it would be something that absolutely everyone in the area could benefit from and be proud of. Now, thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund, Lister Steps are able to continue carrying out that vision.
“It’s no secret that the area is one that has more than its fair share of hardship, with plenty of people who feel isolated and are struggling to make ends meet. The Old Library is going to create a sense of renewed community by offering people a chance to access honest, affordable services and get vital information about how to manage their money.
“It will also be a place to help local entrepreneurs get their big ideas off the ground, as well as a community space for weddings, celebrations, concerts, theatre, conferences and local events. It truly is something for everyone.”
The new space has been designed by OMI Architects, and the decision to officially call the new space The Old Library stemmed from the fact that everybody in the community already refers to it as that. Development work will begin next month, and the Old Library is set to open its doors in November 2018.
Cabinet member for Regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said: “This is a win-win for everybody and means we can bring a beautiful old building back into use as a vitally important community facility.
“At a time when the council’s own budget is under severe pressure, it is hugely important that we support community organisations such as Lister Steps to access alternative funding and make their dreams become reality.”
Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West said: “What a great way to mark Andrew Carnegie’s 181st birthday with our £3.9m investment – I think he would have approved! We loved Lister Steps’ plans to restore this historic landmark into a living, breathing place designed around the needs of the local community. This is a great example of National Lottery players’ money being used to maximum effect by taking a much-loved but dilapidated building and turning it into a space fit for 21st-century living.”
Lister Steps was founded by local residents in 1997 to address the need for community services and affordable childcare in Tuebrook, Stoneycroft, Old Swan and the surrounding areas. The community-based charity has been heavily involved in the planning of The Old Library. To find out more about Lister Steps and their community childcare, head to www.listersteps.co.uk.