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Libraries and Archives

Opening times

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

Central Library reopens with a beautifully re-modelled building and a host of new services including:

  • 15,000 rare books in the Hornby Library, Oak Room and Picton Reading Room.
  • Wi-Fi access throughout the building, plus 150 computers and iPads.
  • Play on the Xbox 360 or listen to music through a Bose© sound system.
  • A stunning space for children to discover books.
  • Spectacular views from the roof terrace and meeting rooms to hire out.
  • Ground floor café with a terrace overlooking St John’s Gardens - a great destination for a catch-up, a cup of coffee, a selection of scrumptious cakes and treats, and a range of hot and cold food and drinks.

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 or listen to music streamed through a Bose© sound system. 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.

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 schoolwork, 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 are all planned for the future.

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.

Over 15,000 rare books include medieval manuscripts, early printed books, beautifully illustrated natural history and travel books, fine bindings, engraved prints and much more besides.

Audubon and fascinating rarities are always on display during normal library opening hours with free access 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 on-line.

Is your first stop for information and where you will find most of the library’s books for loan and reference. Specialist books are shelved in the Picton Reading Room, the perfect space for quiet study or research.

There are over 150 public computers located mainly around the atrium on two floors and you can use them for e-mail, Internet, Office applications or to access the library’s on-line resources.

If you prefer quieter spaces then head for the 2nd floor where the north and south lightwells are set up for your WiFi devices. Budding entrepreneurs will love the Business and Intellectual Property Centre which gives free access to industry standard resources to help you start, run and grow your business.

Practical assistance, market research and company information are readily available. Look out for the Patents Clinics that are held regularly.