We are delighted that The Old Library has been included on the shortlist of 12 projects for the 2022 RIBAJ MacEwen Award. The award is a celebration of built projects which are of demonstrable and wide social benefit – architecture for the common good.
From a long list of community endeavours, education initiatives, support structures and urban revitalisation the judges for the RIBA Journal’s MacEwen Award picked just twelve schemes for the shortlist.
The client, Lister Steps are a local charity, which was founded by local residents in response to identified need for community services including childcare in the Tuebrook area of Liverpool. Lister Steps’ charitable mission is to enhance the life chances of all families and individuals living in Tuebrook, as such Lister Steps identified the local library building as a potential base for the outworking of their vision.
The completed project has a dual function programme, a childcare facility and a community hub. Alongside the key childcare function the project provides multi-functional community spaces, a café, hot desking, and office accommodation. The creation of an extension to the rear of the building provides a catering kitchen, children’s dining space and sessional room.
The local community have been involved in the project from its inception with a wide ranging engagement programme continuing throughout. Various local stakeholders including residents, schools, churches, councillors, social groups, parents and families in the nursery helped shape how the building should be used. This engagement continued with construction phase apprenticeships and short courses in historic craft skills and building conservation being delivered to the local community during the delivery phase of the project.
Today The Old Library is once again a beautiful heritage asset in the heart of the community. Local residents are thrilled that this much-loved building has been returned to public use. Since re-opening, visitors have enjoyed dining in the café, attending community events & activities, utilising hot desks and booking celebrations in this new local venue. The children in the nursery & holiday clubs have loved their new spaces to play, especially the helter-skelter slide in the garden.
The £3.8m project was funded by the NLHF and Liverpool City Council.