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Libraries and Archives

Central Library

Opening times

Please note: Bank holiday opening hours may vary, please check banner above for details.
Monday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Facilities

View the Central Library image gallery

The multiple award-winning Central Library is a beautifully re-modelled building with a host of new services including:

  • Wi-Fi access throughout the building, plus 150 computers and iPads.
  • A game area with free to use Xbox 360.
  • A stunning space for children to discover books.
  • 15,000 rare books in the Hornby Library, Oak Room and Picton Reading Room.
  • Spectacular views from the roof terrace and meeting rooms to hire out.
  • Visit our ground floor Deli Marche Café with an amazing external terrace overlooking St John’s Gardens. A great destination for a catch-up, a cup of Costa coffee and a selection of scrumptious cakes. Delicious light bites served throughout the day.

Download the information leaflet.

Areas are themed so that users can enjoy the best of the building and the resources within it.

Is where you will find a good book to take on holiday, to discuss with friends in a reading group, to read on the bus or train or simply to take yourself away from everyday life.

There is so much to choose from crime, adventure, science fiction and much more.

Perhaps you would rather explore Liverpool’s local history, look into true crime, read a biography of someone famous, or relax in mind, body and spirit? With graphic novels and large print books there is something for everyone.

Browse the audio books and language courses or use the e-books service. All loans are FREE and it is free to join. You can check out the iPads for quick email and internet access.

From here you can take the lift to Meet on the 4th floor. Enjoy the spectacular views from the roof terrace or book a meeting room for your group or organisation.

is the place to find out about your family history and discover the history of your house, street or district.

So who do you think you are, where do you think you came from and what was life in old Liverpool like? Your questions can be answered here. You can learn more about famous Liverpool people, buildings and events.

There are fabulous collections of unique and rare archives from the 13th century to the present day which tell Liverpool’s story. Experienced staff will help you in this welcoming area, where photographs, maps, newspapers, directories, and much more, record the lives of Liverpudlians across the centuries.

The archive is ever expanding as collections are continually added and the new Conservation Studio helps us to preserve them in a highly secure and controlled environment.

Is where you can find feature films and television programmes on DVD. Choose from CDs covering contemporary rock and pop, country, folk, jazz, blues, world music and classical.

Imagine also has books on popular culture, music, cinema and cult fiction so borrow the film and read about the director or stars, borrow music and find out about the composer or era in which it was written.

Totally new to Central Library is GAME, a huge sound box where you can play computer games FREE on the Xbox 360. You can also borrow computer games for a small charge.

It is a place where teenagers can meet friends, access free computers for e-mail and Internet or just chill out.

Is a showcase, fully accessible, new children’s library with a special area for under 5’s.

The historic lecture theatre has been transformed into a stunning and imaginative environment for children of all ages to discover a wealth of story books, information books and picture books.

Free computers are available for children to help with school work, find things out, or just have fun. Prefer listening and watching? Then head for the children's DVDs and talking books on CD.

Teachers - book your school visit. Parents, carers and children - look out for special events, especially in the school holidays.

The room is also a performance space and is fully equipped with sound system, mood lighting and projection equipment. Storytelling, author visits and themed days take place here too.

Is where the famous collections of rare books are kept, housed in the magnificent Hornby Library and Oak Room.

View the impressive Picton Reading Room, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. For many visitors, the star attraction will be seeing a copy of John James Audubon’s massive ‘Birds of America’, described as the greatest natural history book ever produced.

There are over 15,000 rare books including medieval manuscripts, early printed books, beautifully illustrated natural history and travel books, fine bindings, engraved prints and much more.

Audubon and fascinating rarities or special exhibitions are always on display during library opening hours, access is free or you can make an appointment to view particular items.

Interactive kiosks and displays tell you the story of these collections and libraries and further information is available online.

Is your first stop for information on all subjects and most of the library’s books for loan and reference. 

Specialist books are in the Picton Reading Room, the perfect space for some quiet study or research. You will find nearly 60 public computers on the first floor for email, internet and Office applications or to access the library’s online resources.

Wi-Fi is available throughout the building and you will find quieter study spaces at the second floor light-wells.

Entrepreneurs should visit the Business and Intellectual Property Centre which gives free access to industry standard resources to help you start, run and grow your business, including market research and company information.

We hold monthly Intellectual Property clinics as well as regular events to develop your business ideas.