A derelict grade two-listed library in Liverpool is set to be repaired and converted into a space for community services and events, following planning approval from the council.
Funded by a £3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, childcare charity Lister Steps plans to turn the Andrew Carnegie Library in Tuebrook into a new community hub offering childcare, rentable meeting space, hot desking, heritage activities, an events venue and training and volunteering opportunities for local people.
The approved design by OMI Architects places a series of insertions within the existing reading rooms to create the subdivisions for the range of proposed uses, whilst retaining the original characteristics of the spaces. The work will increase the size from around 7,800 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft.
The library was designed by Thomas Shelmerdine and was built in 1904 as a direct result of a donation from wealthy industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, to provide opportunity for a disadvantaged local population.
After a 100 year life as a functioning library, the building 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.
Nick Berry, director of OMI Architects, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to bring a building, which was once the corner stone of the local community, back into everyday use. We have a history of working successfully with listed buildings and saving them from the risk of serious decline. What is unique about the Carnegie Library is not only the impressive scale and rich detailing of the of the internal space, but the fact that Carnegie himself saw the need for this community to be given something to be proud of and this project will ensure that this aim is continued into the next generation.”