Work to transform the Grade II listed Andrew Carnegie Library in the Tuebrook area of Liverpool will commence at the beginning of 2019. The building, now in a state of disrepair, will be transformed into a new community hub offering childcare, rentable meeting space, hotdesking, heritage activities, an events venue and a wide range of training and volunteering opportunities for local people. The OMI Architects designed project can go ahead with thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players, with £3.9 million from The Heritage Lottery Fund in 2016, the project has also received financial support from Liverpool City Council, The Hemby Trust, Eleanor Rathbone foundation, Key Fund and Power to Change. Tenders are currently being sought from contractors, with an expected start on site early in the new year.
The local Tuebrook community is the reason for the building’s existence and the library was still in active use until 2004. The local community will continue to be essential to the future of the building’s success. A recent re-launch event saw large numbers of the local community visit the building to see the plans for the future. The project aims to be the spark that ignites the regeneration of the wider area. By providing opportunities for people to socialise, learn and participate Lister Steps will support the wellbeing and development of individuals, groups and local enterprise.
The transformation places a series of insertions within the volume of the existing reading rooms to create the subdivisions necessary for the diverse range of proposed uses, whilst retaining the original characteristics of the spaces.
The Grade II listed Andrew Carnegie Library designed by Thomas Shelmerdine, was built in 1904 as a direct result of a donation from the wealthy industrialist and Philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. The library was built to provide opportunity for a disadvantaged local population – Carnegie himself offering the money to Liverpool to further their aspirations to improve the education of its inhabitants.
After a 100 year life as a functioning library, the building, having been underfunded for a significant period, had to be closed following health and safety concerns. Unoccupied, the building has been subject to theft, vandalism and neglect and is listed on Liverpool’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register.
Lister Steps, a local charity who provide childcare facilities in a neighbouring temporary building plan to bring the Library back into use, to continue the legacy of philanthropy and education, offering opportunity to a new local population.
The aim of the project is to refurbish and re-model the Grade II former Andrew Carnegie Library to provide much needed community services to the neighbourhoods of Tuebrook and Old Swan. The ‘Old Library’ will act as a focus for community activity, providing a wide range of functions to extend Lister Steps current activity.
Nick Berry, Director of OMI Architects said, “The local support for this exciting project bodes well for the vision which has been developed by Lister Steps and the design team over the last few years. The success of the project will in large part be down to the adoption of the project by the local community. It is satisfying to help bring a building, which was once the corner stone of the local community, back into everyday use. OMI have a history of working successfully with listed buildings, saving them from the risk of serious decline and this project is important to us as a further example of how radical conversion can transform heritage building and give it new life. Carnegie himself saw the need for this community to be given something to be proud of and the Old Library project will ensure that this aim is continued into the next generation.”