Liverpool’s Central Library: Where Books Live and Words Come Alive

Liverpool’s Central Library is like a living museum dedicated to the written word.

Inside the Picton Reading Room

Books. Lovely books.

After a remarkable redevelopment, this place is now much more than a library – it’s a celebration of  heritage and literature, and a visitor attraction in its own right.

There’s even a roof terrace for taking in some stunning views of the city.

View from the roof terrace of the Liverpool Central Library

The view from the top of Liverpool’s newest must-visit destination.

But despite now making its mark as a city sightseeing destination, first and foremost this is still a place for Liverpool locals to go when they want to borrow books. And that’s rather fitting for the city that gave Europe its first lending library.

Liverpool Central Library

The beautiful building is only the start of the story.

The neo-classical building is now home to a brilliantly reinvented space designed to inspire and allow for discovery. It’s not stuffy and it’s not silent. Instead, there’s a soft buzz about the place. Like something is happening.  

Maybe it’s the cogs of many minds turning as they read and write and work. The library is both alive and welcoming because people are really using it.

Chanel in the Library

A place not just to learn, but to create.

The light in the modern atrium encourages you to explore while the circular wall of books in the Picton Reading Room just wants to hug you with its history and read you a story from another time.

Looking up in the library

The library’s central sky light.

Clock in the Picton Reading Room

The Picton Reading Room and its glorious old clock.

I paid the library a flying visit on a day trip to my hometown of Liverpool. It was my #take12trips adventure for November. I wanted to visit a place I’ve walked so often past and yet have only ever entered just the once, during my school days which I hate to admit are long gone.

I knew the library had recently been revamped and reopened, but while I was aware that it had recently beaten London’s Shard to win the National Building Excellence award, I had no idea that it would be a place I’d feel excited just to stand inside.

I think my beloved Walker Art Gallery might just have competition in the fight for my affections.

Stairways to book heaven

Stairways to book lover heaven.

I want to go back to the Central Library and soon, next time with my laptop and my notebooks. I’m eager to spend a day there, immersed in my own imagination. I need to know if that soft, exciting buzz will rub off on me.

You see, I’ve always dreamed of writing words worthy of a book, something that could one day live in a library. Now I’ve found the place that has finally made me believe I might just be able to do it. And if a library can do that, then how can it be anything less than wonderful?

Would you add the library to your Liverpool city break itinerary? Let me know in the comments. I’d love for you to tell me about your own favourite library, too.


  • I love your first photo! It is exactly how I believe libraries should look. The contrast of your photos is so interesting. The library has certainly blended the old with the modern in a lovely way. I am also a lover of libraries and work close to one of my favorites, the Boston Public Library. If you ever visit you will have to make sure to walk through! I will definitely be adding the Liverpool Library to my itinerary when I finally make it to England!

    • Clare says:

      I think they’ve done a wonderful job blending the old and new. It’s not an easy thing to get right. It’s so lovely to hear that you’d like to pay the library a visit when you get England! I love libraries too, so when I get to Boston, I know where I need to go!

  • Agness says:

    It looks impressive inside as well as outside. I am not a big fan of books, prefer movies, but I would go there to explore.

    • Clare says:

      I think it’s a great place to explore. Especially with the roof terrace they’ve created. It makes it something a bit more than just a place full of books. I’m sure you’d enjoy it! 🙂

  • rebecca says:

    wow! A Book lovers heaven

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