Saturday, February 20, 2010

New series: Libraries I Love: Liverpool Central Library

Thought I'd start a new occasional series, or two: profiling libraries and bookshops in which I come across my books being stocked and which needless, to say, I fall instantly in love with (if I'm not already). Last week of course I wrote about Walkden Library, where I had a really great time giving a reading, though I didn't provide a picture of its plush yet airy reading room, and will now:

Of course I've written previously about Manchester Central Library, where I've read twice in the stunningly wood-panelled committee room (and which is due to close for three years for redesign and refurbishment.) Yesterday I took a trip to Liverpool, specifically to the Central Library for a networking day for librarians and writers in the North West, organised by Jane Mathieson, the Regional Reader Development Co-ordinator. Jane explained to us that the Reader Development initiative is an attempt to redress the balance after the push towards IT shifted the focus of libraries, and to reassert the prime role of libraries in developing people's relationships with books. Inviting writers into libraries is part of the initiative.

I had never before set foot in Liverpool Central Library, built in 1860, and it is the most magnificent building: rather imposingly Neo-Classical on the outside as can be seen above, but beautiful on the inside with a mezzanine gallery in the circular original reading room I passed through, accessed by a spiral staircase worked in decorative ironwork.

There are later additions to the building, and here, in the fiction section near the more modern entrance I found my story collection, Balancing on the Edge of the World, on a shelf:

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