Liverpool Library

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Next to the World Museum, nestled between it and the Walker Art Gallery is the Liverpool Central Library. At a time when libraries in particular and public services in general are being rapidly denuded in the name of austerity, it’s good to see that fairly recently the authorities here had the confidence to commit to such a major rebuilding project.

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To be honest, I found the view from the top a bit dizzying. A bit pathetic from someone who likes to climb mountains, I know, but there it is.

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I was much happier on the roof terrace…

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…from where there’s a view over the city centre, and of the nearby St George’s Hall…

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This is the circular Picton room…

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And this is the Hornby library…

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…I think.

The kids were keen to find the children’s library…

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Where they immediately made themselves at home…

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After all, probably wrong to go to a library…

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…without reading something…

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I discovered The Reader magazine, in which I read an amusing article by the poet Ian McMillan. It was about his magazine addiction and began with a story about his father’s subscription to Yachting Monthly despite the fact that his father didn’t own a yacht, had never owned a yacht and had no intention of ever owning a yacht. McMillan has inherited his father’s enthusiasm and even subscribes to Stack a service which delivers a randomly selected independent magazine to his welcome mat every month. I completely understand the allure, in fact I’ve just been distracted on the Stack website by the idea of ‘Anorak’ the happy magazine which refuses to grow up. Recently, TBH has been reading ‘The Simple Things’ which was recommended by a friend; I don’t think I’m the target audience, but I must admit that the mixture of gardening, food, reviews and quirky articles is quite diverting – I especially like the second-hand book find of the month. But generally the magazine shaped hole in my life is more than adequately filled by my blog reading. And like McMillan I find myself seduced by blogs on all sorts of topics which are not necessarily the obvious ones to suit me. Yes, I read several blogs by keen walkers (and even those vary enormously in style and content) and also natural history blogs, but over the years I’ve found myself quite taken by blogs about books and bees and bread and beer; I recently found myself entranced by a blog on minimalism. When I searched for a recipe to utilise the ground elder which is engulfing our front garden I found recipes on blogs about gardening, foraging and about downsizing, all of which looked really fascinating. (One of the recipes was provided by John Lewis-Stempel, author of Meadowland.)

When I knew that we were going to spend some time in Liverpool, I remembered that I’d read several posts about the city on one particular blog – Down by the Dougie – and so went back there to search for any useful suggestions: the idea of visiting the library came from that search, as did several other excellent ideas which really helped to make our little trip. And I already have one suggestion, in a comment, for the next time we’re down that way. Marvellous.

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Liverpool Library

6 thoughts on “Liverpool Library

  1. You’ve sorted out my itinerary for my next trip to Liverpool (except I too get very dizzy on the wrong sorts of heights). I also enjoy Down By the Dougie each time I read it. My wife knows Ian McMillan and, indeed, taught his son Andrew (also a decent poet) English. Small world. (I subscribe to a rugby league magazine).

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      The library is certainly worth seeing.
      But you’re a rugby league fan, Ian McMillan was confessing to having a habit of buying magazines on almost any topic at all, just because there’s something seductive about the glossy world they present. He was also putting the case for magazines as vehicles for new writing. Well…you’d probably need to read the original article to make sure I’ve interpreted it properly. But then you’d need to buy (or better yet borrow) ‘Reader’ magazine.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It’s a stunning building. I used to borrow books from the Central Library on St. Peter’s Square in Manchester, but I’m struggling to remember what it looks like inside. I shall have to go and refresh my memory next time I’m in Manchester town centre (which may be some time away).

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