Liverpool’s Central Library is going to get the Royal seal of approval this month.
HRH The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, will unveil a special plaque, marking the official opening of the newly refurbished city gem on Monday 23 September.
The royal visitor will meet representatives from all organisations that played a key role in the £50million restoration. This will be followed by a tour of the building, including the new children’s area ‘Discover’, the stunning Picton Reading Room, the Oak Room which houses the rare Audubon books, and the roof terrace which has stunning views over the city centre.
Leading the tour will be Liverpool’s Head of Libraries Joyce Little. It will be a double celebration for Joyce as it marks the official opening of a project she has worked on since its inception more than ten years ago, and her retirement from the city council – 45 years to the day she started.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Central Library is one of the most significant and celebrated buildings in Liverpool and we are delighted that Prince Edward is coming to unveil the opening plaque and see for himself the outstanding restoration which has taken place.
“It is without a doubt a leading landmark in the city, and its transformation has made it a hub of learning, research, discovery and relaxation for the community.
“It is another key date in the history of one of the best libraries and records office in the country and I’m extremely proud to be part of it.
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Joyce who has played an integral role in every step of the regeneration. Her hard work, and the dedication of her team, have transformed the library into a valued cultural gem once again.”
The last royal visit to Central Library was in 1999 when Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Prince Phillip The Duke of Edinburgh toured the building and met representatives from local reading organisations.
Joyce Little said: “This project has been a labour of love for me so I’m delighted to be able to show-off, what is in my opinion, Britain’s best library to our royal visitor!
“Since the library re-opened in May, we have been overwhelmed with the positive reaction to the new building. It’s been a real challenge to retain and perfectly restore the beautiful historic elements, and at the same time modernise it and make it a desirable place for people to spend time.
“And of course it’s both happy and sad that the visit marks the end of 45 very happy years working for the council – although I’ll be telling as many people as possible that I had a Prince at my retirement party!”
As part of the tour Prince Edward will be treated to performances from The Liverpool Signing Choir and the Liverpool Community Choir. He will also have the opportunity to meet youngsters who are making the most of the new facilities.
Central Library will remain open to the public as usual throughout the royal visit.
The library opened to the public on Friday 17 May following 26 months of construction and 16 weeks of re-stocking.