Press Release: Opening our doors!

27th January 2016

After winning the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, we are delighted to announce that this year, the Athenaeum Library is opening its doors to the people of Liverpool.

Dating back to 1797 and home to some 800 year old literary treasures, the Athenaeum is offering a rare and valuable opportunity for schools, universities and groups of adults to browse their unique shelves and embark upon projects in subjects they are most passionate about; including History, English Literature, Geography, Sciences, Languages, Theatre and Art.

Librarian Vincent Roper, who has been hosting guided tours of the library for 20 years says: ‘I can’t step into this building without feeling like I’ve stepped into a time capsule.’

We are enthusiastic about schools, colleges and universities engaging with the Athenaeum, demonstrating the wealth of material available, inviting visits and setting up projects like those undertaken by Alsop High School where the teaching staff and the library co-operate to open up lost worlds to the students. Assistant Headteacher, October Wright says: ‘Working with the Athenaeum has been an invaluable experience for our pupils. It has ignited within them a passion for books and reading and afforded them the opportunity to engage with prominent members of the community. The Athenaeum project has become a beacon of academic excellence in our school, adding gravitas and prestige to academic progress and success.’

The experience of a tour also offers the opportunity for pre-university students to sample the world of independent study. Our archivists are keen to assist with bespoke tours for students aged 16-18, carefully designing the sessions to equip them with excellent skills ahead of university.

University of Liverpool English Literature graduate, Steph Bushell, who has volunteered at the Athenaeum since November, says: ‘The most exciting item I have come across so far, has to be a First Edition of Ulysses.

‘From day to day, we never know what we’re going to come across – last week we found a passport from 1836, bookmarking the page of a book, this week we found a typewriter belonging to Nicholas Monsarret. I am on a continual learning curve at the Athenaeum. I’ve felt very welcome here and the Athenaeum has equipped me with an invaluable foundation of knowledge ahead of my post-graduate studies this year. ‘

Visits and tours of the Athenaeum are by booking only and are funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. For further information or to request a tour and use of the library, please contact John Corbett or Anna Corbett on: or 0151 709 7770.