Multi-million pound new chapter for historic library

Work is to begin on a multi-million pound transformation of a derelict former library into a brand new community centre in Liverpool.

The exciting project has recently obtained £3.9m of Heritage Lottery grant funding which will see the former Andrew Carnegie West Derby Library in Lister Drive given a new lease of life. 

The £4.3m project has only been made possible by National Lottery players and will enable local charity Lister Steps to create a welcoming place for members of the community to come together, participate and learn, give and receive support and promote enterprise.

The Grade II Listed building, owned by Liverpool City Council which is contributing to the project, has been vacant since 2006 but following a Council marketing exercise in 2012, to select a potential end user, Lister Steps were selected.

Lister Steps have been providing childcare and family support to local residents for the past 20 years but have always intended to expand the services they offer to the wider community.

Working in partnership with the city council, Lister Steps have now secured the services of award-winning architects OMI and a specialist design team who will commence work immediately to oversee the restoration of this important listed building.

The Old Library will generate new jobs and training opportunities, it will host a licensed café, an events space, an affordable childcare service provided by Lister Steps charity, a healthy food takeaway, a co-working space and facilities to help local people socialise, learn new skills and hobbies.

One the design work is complete, construction work will go out to competitive tender in the summer with the new centre expected to open in January 2020.

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 National Lottery players and Heritage Lottery Fund Lister Steps are able to continue carrying out that vision.”

Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, said: “I’m delighted that work is to begin on transforming the old Lister Drive library into a vibrant new community centre. Lister Steps have been a fantastic asset in West Derby and this new centre will provide them with a platform to develop their skills and support programmes and reach out and transform many more lives.”

Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “The Lister Steps project is a fantastic example of local heritage-led regeneration and shows how new ideas can be used to bring historic buildings back to the heart of the local community.

“This project will provide the Library with a sustainable long-term future helping to boost the local economy, provide jobs and training for local people and act as a catalyst for wider regeneration in the area.

Liverpool Waterfront