In Wonderland

A library opens. Rare enough in these days of enforced ‘austerity’ when branch libraries everywhere are being closed.  So something to be celebrated, mainly in pictures. I will have more words when I’ve had a better, quieter look around.

But here we are, Friday 17th May, 2013. Liverpool Central Library re-opens after three years of intense rebuilding and renewal, and early in the evening I’m on my way to see it, along with a goodly part of the population.

Off the bus, through St John's Gardens, past the Tunnel.

Off the bus, through St John’s Gardens, past the Tunnel.

DSC05831Wonderland04

In Wonderland.

In Wonderland.

And so are they.

And so are they.

Let's go in.

Let’s go in.

Wonderland08 Wonderland09

Discover, the great big circular children's library.

Discover, the great big circular children’s library.

Wonderland11 Wonderland12Wonderland13 Wonderland14

The Hornby Library.

The Hornby Library.

Where they have Edward Lear, as the whole world knows.

Where they have Edward Lear, as the whole world knows.

Wonderland18

A precious possession.

A precious possession.

Regular readers may remember Audubon as an early nineteenth century visitor to William Rathbone at Greenbank House.Wonderland21

Already impressed, next comes something spectacular. Deeper into Wonderland.Wonderland01Wonderland22 Wonderland23 Wonderland24 Wonderland25 Wonderland26 Wonderland27 Wonderland28The great room is crowded but quiet. Like a library. Before the library closed three years ago the Picton Reading Room had been long closed off. None of us living now have ever seen it looking like this, its 1875 self fully restored.

The great reference library back with us. This is where I came in.

The great reference library back with us. This is where I came in.

Wonderland30 Wonderland31Next, the place where the stories are now living.Wonderland32 Wonderland33 Wonderland34 Wonderland35Wonderland36

Up and up and up we go. To a new gathering place.

Up and up and up we go. To a new gathering place.

Wonderland38

Up on the roof.

Up on the roof.

Wonderland40 Wonderland41 Wonderland42 Wonderland43 Wonderland44

New views of the familiar.

New views of the familiar.

The story of the place.

The story of the place.

The story of us.

The story of us.

Wonderland48 Wonderland49 Wonderland50 Wonderland51 Wonderland52Later on there will be projections on to the outside walls. Of books and their characters.

Looking something like this.

Looking something like this. Thanks Sevenstreets.

I don’t stay. Nothing could amaze me more than what I’ve already seen. In Wonderland.

So I’ll be back, of course I will. I’ll also be continuing to defend every library. This is like visiting a Cathedral, wonderful and uplifting. To support it, and to enrich our lives and teach our children, we also need our local places. For everyday contemplation and inspiration. Go on Liverpool, with a bit of creativity we can do both.

13 thoughts on “In Wonderland

  1. stan cotter

    What a wonderful building we have in our midst now Ronnie. It’s fantastic to see the way it has been renovated.

    But it does bring to mind my comments re all the other buildings in our city that have long gone. There was once a house on the Brunswick Dock estate on the riverside of the dock. It was a detached house and I was told by a friend that it was used by the Dock Board divers. Do you have any information on that at all?

    Reply
  2. Eagle-Eyed Editor

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful images. I think I went to book heaven. You’re so lucky to have this library close to you. And I love the whimsy of Alice and her friends being there.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      I think when it quietens down I’ll take my sleeping bag and head torch and move in!

      Everyone else, please go and read what Gerry’s written. He really gets across the sense of civic pride we have in our new gift to ourselves, and also how much the library’s existence is ‘an alternative to the mantra of austerity.’ If you thought we were proud of Liverpool before this weekend, really, we were just getting going.

      Also though, and before I get any more emotional, Gerry’s descriptions of the municipal miseries of the Central Library as was show how much we all deserve this shaft of light that has now entered our lives.

      Reply
  3. David Nolan (David73277)

    Thanks for sharing these photos. It may not be the most awe-inspiring feature, but I am particularly impressed by the “24 Hour Book Return” device.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks David, and welcome to here.

      Yes, I included that picture because it’s such a good idea. And to show how thoroughly thought about our new place is. I’ll be going back there one of these quiet mid-week days to have a longer look.

      Reply
  4. cheethamlib

    In a word ‘awesome’ – actually words fail me but I can manage to comment. What a magnificent working monument to the whole spectrum of books and libraries ! Three resounding cheers all round. Wonderful to see that restoration of the Picton Reading Room, the Victorians knew how to design fine reading rooms. Excellent photos…

    Reply
  5. Barbara

    I’m sorry you didn’t get to see it before it’s refurb. I remember my grandfather taking me to the Central Library on a number of occasions, and into the Picton Reading room. Each time we crept through the big doors I was in awe of the place. So many books, the wonderful stairs leading to little landings, treasure up every step. That was in the 1980’s I’m sure. It looks much brighter now. I look forward to visiting next time I’m in town. When did it close?

    Reply

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s