Prince officially reopens £50m Library

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Prince Edward reopening Central Library

Prince Edward views one of the exhibitions at Central Library.

Liverpool’s newly refurbished Central Library was officially reopened by HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex on Monday.

The Prince toured the library, which cost £50m to renovate, and met with youngsters from the community. The tour culminated in the unveiling of a plaque marking the occasion.

Prince Edward said: “To all the people involved a huge congratulations. It’s marvellous that you’ve been able to uncover such hidden treasures within the library.”

The Earl entered the library to a performance of John Lennon’s Imagine by the Liverpool Signing Choir and also enjoyed a performance by the Liverpool Community Choir.

The tour included visits to the Oak Room and Hornby Library, which houses over 15,000 rare books, and to the new Children’s ‘Discover’ room.

Prince Edward also paid tribute to Liverpool Council’s head of libraries, Joyce Little, who retired exactly 45 years after starting work at the council.

The Prince said: “I think Joyce has steered through the most extraordinary re-invention of a city library. The space she has managed to create is fantastic.”

The opening marks the first royal engagement at the library since the Queen and Prince Phillip visited in 1999.

Cllr Joyce Little, told the Echo: “This project has been a labour of love for me so I’m delighted to be able to show-off what is, in myopinion, Britain’s best library to our royal visitor.

“Since the library re-opened in May, we have been overwhelmed with the positive reaction to the new building. It’s been a real challenge to retain and perfectly restore the beautiful historic elements, and at the same time modernise it and make it a desirable place for people to spend time.”

Liverpool’s Central Library originally opened in 1860 and closed in 2010 in order for the refurbishment to begin, before reopening earlier this year.

About Nathan Pearce, JMU Journalism