Exhibition of Plans for New Central Library

Liverpool Central Library - Aerial View


The public are being invited to take a closer look at the details of one of the biggest library redevelopments in the UK.

Liverpool City Council has opened an exhibition at Liverpool Central Library which is to undergo a £50m renovation starting next summer.

The exhibition, which forms part of the consultation process for the planning application, comes just six weeks after the council appointed Inspire Partnership to manage the PFI funded contract.

Inspire Partnership, a joint venture between Amber Infrastructure and Shepherd Construction, have helped create the exhibition which includes detailed images and a digital flythrough of the new look library. It is expected to run until at least the end of January 2010.

Plans for the Central Library, which currently suffers from damp and a leaking roof will see the full restoration of the Grade II listed parts of the building, which date back to 1850, and the famous Hornby Library and Oak Reading Rooms being fully open to the public for the first time.

The sections behind the façade which were built in the 1950s and 1970s following World War II bomb damage will be demolished and rebuilt to make the most of the available space. The new library will be open and inviting giving the public access to enhanced facilities in a landmark building.

Staff will begin emptying Central Library in the new year, once its temporary new home is secured, and have already been undertaking the biggest review of the library’s collections in 40 years. The review, which has involved more than a dozen staff and external advisors, also includes a major programme to electronically catalogue the entire collection and digitise the city’s rare archives.

Once completed the library will begin selling outdated stock that will have been first offered to other libraries and independently verified by industry experts as having no cultural, educational or historical value and that will have not been requested by the public for at least a decade.

The revamped Central Library will also include a new home for the Liverpool Record Office which will house 14km of archives and some of the city’s most historic treasures from the last 800 years – such as the original 1207 charter – in purpose built secure, climate controlled storage.

There will also be state-of-the-art IT facilities which will allow young people to download music and games onto MP3 and MP4 players, with wi-fi and access to computers.

Other new elements include:

¨              New repository with capacity for 20 years of additional archive storage space
¨              New entrance to main library, including a ‘literary pavement’ and front and rear access
¨              Five new floors with better access including escalators, lifts, toilets, meeting rooms and café
¨              New conservation studio for repairs to the city’s masterpieces
¨              New rooftop Atrium and terrace overlooking St.John’s Gardens
¨              Re-opening of historic internal entrances to the Picton Reading Room
¨              Re-opening of International Library, to original design, as a new children’s zone
¨              Dedicated room to John James Audubon’s celebrated book – Birds of America
¨              Doubling the number of public computers
¨              New light well’s at front and rear to allow library to be naturally lit
¨              New 24 hour on-street, drop-off book service

The building is due to close in June 2010, and will take three months to empty completely before construction work commences.