Liverpool Libraries and the City’s key role in the library movement

#supportliverpoollibraries – use them!

Andrew Carnegie, benefactor of many Liverpool libraries:

‘A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert’

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As Liverpool faces the very real and disturbing prospect of losing up to 11 of its public libraries due to government austery cuts it is worth reflecting on our city’s proud history with regard to library provision.

Timeline of Key Events

1715 – Seamen’s Library opens at the Parish Church of St Peter

1758Circulating library  starts in Princes St, moves to North John St then Lord St 1787

1800Athenaeum Library opened on 1st May

1802Lyceum in Bold St (newsroom and library)

1820 – Mechanics and Apprentices Library on School Lane

1850Public Libraries Act championed by Liverpool MP William Ewart

1852 – 18th Oct Free Public Library opens in Union News Room Duke St

1853 – At a council meeting on 21st Sept Liverpool’s Mayor, Samuel Holme, announced that William Brown had come forward with an offer of £6,000 to build a library and museum if the council would provide a site for it

1855 – Liverpool Improvement Act 15th July allows for work on Shaws Brow/William Brown St to accommodate museum, library

1860 – William Brown Museum and Free Library opened 18th Oct

1875 – Peter Cowell is appointed as Liverpool’s third Chief Librarian and is responsible for commissioning the Carnegie/Shelmerdine libraries

1879 – Picton Reading Rooms opens 8th Oct – named after Sir James Picton who had been chairman of The Museums and Library Committee for 25yrs

1882Bootle Town Hall, Library and Baths opens

1889 Kensington Library opens. Extended 1897

1896Everton Library opened. Closed as library 1998, empty sine 2002. GradeII*

1902Toxteth Branch Library – Gifted and opened by Andrew Carnegie 15th Oct. GradeII Listed

1903Wavertree Library

1905 – Kirkdale Branch Library – Brock St – opened 21st June by Alderman J. N. Stolterfoht – destroyed in The Blitz.

1905Lister Drive Library opened, again funded by Andrew Carnegie – closed 2006. ‘Lister Steps’ now working to restore via lottery funding

1906 – Hornby Library extension to rear of Picton Reading Rooms

1909Garston Library opened, funded by Andrew Carnegie. GradeII

1911Sefton Park Library opened by Andrew Carnegie on 3rd Aug. GradeII

1911 – 23rd Nov Walton Library opens

1914 – Oak Room added to Picton Library

1931Edge Hill (Lodge Lane) Library – closed 2012

1938 – Harold Cohen Library – Liverpool University – opens 21st May

1941 – William Brown Library was hit during The Blitz resulting in over 150,000 books being lost

1957 – 25th June – Queen Mother unveils plaque to mark rebuilding of William Brown Library

1974 – Sydney Jones Library – Abercromby Sq.

2009Toxteth Library becomes the 17th community library in Liverpool to have been refurbished in 10 year period

2012Library closures and reduced opening hours announced

2013 – May 17th – Central Library re-opens after major £50m refurbishment. 23rd Sept – HRH The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward unveils a special plaque, marking the official opening.

Thomas Shelmerdine – architect of many Liverpool Libraries

 #supportliverpoollibraries – use them!


About Liverpool1207

How can you not be fascinated by the history of Liverpool! "If Liverpool did not exist, it would have to be invented” - Felicien de Myrbach. Liverpool UK #JFT96
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