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Expert Comment: Liverpool Central Library re-opens

Liverpool Central Library reopens Friday 17 May 2013

Liverpool's Central Library re-opens this weekend, after a a £50 million pound refurbishment programme which saw the building closed for five years. Susan Murray, Head of Library Service at Hope, got a sneak preview.

Liverpool Central Library re-opens today to the public following a five year closure for a major £50 million refurbishment. I was delighted to be invited to the official opening last night and to see the wonderful library that has been created, unrecognisable from the resources I used as a student.

Through our links with the public library service as members of Liverpool Libraries Together I have witnessed the agony and hard work behind this project over the 15 years since the idea of a refurbishment was first raised. There have been many false starts and also controversy, particularly around its funding through Private Funding Initiative (PFI) and since the project started cuts to public services have resulted in many branch libraries facing reduced hours or closure.

The job for Liverpool City Library Service now is to make sure Central Library is not seen as a waste of public money by providing services that the public need and will use.

As we all work or study in the city we are entitled to join and use the library service and I would encourage you to pop along for a visit and see what it has to offer including:

-study spaces in the city centre available seven days a week
-access to over four million items including online resources and e-books
-very impressive special collections and archives covering the transatlantic slave trade, health, education, politics, theatre and football but also more currently the Hillsborough Disaster archives

Joyce Little, Head of Libraries and Information Services last night describe the library as being “for the people of Liverpool” it certainly enhances the cultural heart of Liverpool sitting alongside the World Museum, Walker Art Gallery and St George's Hall which together reflect Liverpool’s cultural past and also its future.

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