Last week, we were visited by Oriel Prizeman who is a RIBA accredited specialist conservation architect from Cardiff University with a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in the environmental history of architecture. Oriel also has a keen academic interest in Carnegie libraries and is leading an international project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council looking into how these buildings are being re-imagined for future use across Britain and America. Oriel had previously carried out some 3D laser surveys of The Old Library and it was great to have her back on site to hear about her work; she’s currently travelling around photographing all the Carnegie libraries in the UK, over 600 of them! She’s offered to help us link into a network of organisations who are transforming Carnegie libraries to help local communities so we’re looking forward hopefully to visiting some other sites in the future. Take a look at some of the photos Oriel took for us.
Yesterday, Gaynor and Olivia visited St Anne Stanley School in Old Swan which is just round the corner from The Old Library. A few weeks ago, Year 4 teacher Miss Prior got in touch with us on Twitter after she and her class had been to visit The Old Library as part of their history studies. They had only been able to look at the building from the outside but the children were so shocked by the condition of The Old Library that they decided to write to MP Luciana Berger to campaign about re-opening the building.
We were really pleased to hear that local children cared so much about The Old Library so we visited Year 4 to share our plans for the future with them. After explaining why Andrew Carnegie originally commissioned the building, we asked the children how they felt looking at photographs of the building now, compared to how it used to look:
It makes us feel sad and we feel sorry for the people who loved the library.
When we saw the library now it was really broken and in the old photos it looked grand.
I feel devastated about the building, it used to be a lovely place. We all feel annoyed. You need to respect Andrew Carnegie’s work.
Then we started to explain our plans for the building and how we were going to bring it back to life. Year 4 had so many great ideas for what we could do in the new building, including family fun days, Lego areas, computer rooms, places to learn and do homework, teaching people to read, wildlife areas, birthday parties, planting in the garden, picnics, watching movies and a museum. There were some other suggestions that we might not be able to fit in (water parks and football arenas!) but it was really encouraging to see the children’s enthusiasm for The Old Library project and to learn more about how they want to use their new local community centre.
We had a great morning with Year 4 and are looking forward to seeing them again as the project moves on. If you know a local school or youth group who would like us to learn more about the project, please get in touch (Olivia.firstname.lastname@example.org) – we’d love to get you involved!
Hello, I’m Olivia Johnson and I joined the Lister Steps team in May as the new Community Engagement Manager for The Old Library project. I’m thrilled to join the project at such an exciting time and will be making sure that you’re fully up to date on the latest project news, letting you know about all the activities and events we have planned over the next few years.
Although things have seemed quiet recently, there’s been lots of hard work going on behind the scenes since our Stage 2 HLF bid was successful in November 2016. The team have been sorting out all the legal paperwork needed to get permission to start from HLF and working with OMI Architects to finalise our designs for the building. We’ll be able to share these with you very soon and are getting ready to go out to tender for our construction team, who will be getting started on-site early next year.
We’re still committed to making sure that The Old Library is a place for people to come together, meet others, learn, participate and have fun so we’ve got lots of events and activities coming up and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to get involved throughout the project. Keep an eye on this page and our Events & Activities page for updates or join our mailing list.
If you have any questions or suggestions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing me at email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience and support. We look forward to sharing our exciting journey with you as the project continues!