Outside Liverpool Central Library

Central Library opens its doors!

It’s been more than ten years in the planning, 26 months of construction and 16 weeks of re-stocking – and now Liverpool’s Central Library has opened its doors!

The stunning building, which originally opened in 1860, has been on the receiving end of a massive restoration project with work including:

• Demolition of the 1950s Brown Library and its extension, and the demolition of the 1978 eight-storey extension between the Walker Art Gallery and the World Museum.
• Construction of a new five-storey library behind a retained Grade II* historic façade.
• Brand new central atrium with domed roof to mirror the Picton Roof.
• New entrance on William Brown Street.
• A new five-storey archive and a specialist climate controlled repository which will store the city’s archives and rare treasures.
• Restoration of the historic Picton Library, Hornby Library and the Oak Room.
• A conservation studio.
• A literary pavement, leading to the entrance of the library, and a literary wall adorning the rear of the building, proudly display the names of writers and titles from world books, cinema and music.
• A new café located near the entrance.
• The creation of a roof terrace with beautiful views across the city.

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “May 17 is a hugely important landmark in the history of Central Library and will see the culmination of years of hard work.

“The transformation of the building exceeds expectations and I know there is a real anticipation in the city with residents keen to see the finished results.

“Liverpool should be extremely proud that this modern, welcoming and hi-tech library and records office is taking pride of place in our cultural quarter, and we expect hundreds of thousands of people to make the most of this stunning facility each year.

“The dedication and hard work which has been invested in this redevelopment should be applauded, and I would like to personally thank the city’s libraries and archives team who have played a pivotal role in the transformation of this cultural gem.”

To mark the library’s re-opening, animations will be projected on the Grade II* listed façade of the building on the 16 and 17 May taking inspiration from 16 books including John James Audubon’s Birds of America and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The shows start at around 9.15pm on the 16 running until 10pm, and on the 17 from 9.15pm until midnight.

Rare highlights:
Visitors are encouraged to see the rare and treasured John James Audubon’s Birds of America volumes into its new climate controlled, glass case home in the Oak Room.

There will also be a chance to see a signed letter by Elizabeth I, a second Folio Shakespeare and a unique opportunity to see the first Charter of the City – the Letters Patent from King John 1207. This is rarely seen by the public because of its fragility.

Liverpool Waterfront