Actor and libraries champion Stephen Fry is the latest star to take over the PA at Manchester Central Library.
The star of Blackadder, QI and A Bit of Fry & Laurie has recorded a message to be played to library users, letting them know that it’s time to gather their belongings, check out their books and save any work they’re doing on the library’s freely-available computers.
But rather than just providing this simple public information - which would usually be issued by the library’s security staff - Stephen also adds a heartfelt message to profess his love for libraries as ‘magical, sacred places’.
Stephen says: “Thank you most of all for using the library. Aren’t libraries magical, sacred places?
“And the more you use them and the more you remind other people of their existence and recommend that they use them too, the better it will be for the health of the nation.”
The message will be played at Central Library - which welcomed more than 2 million visitors in 2018/9 - throughout this week until Thursday, at 7:45pm each evening.
Brian Blessed OBE, Happy Mondays’ singer Rowetta and actor Julie Hesmondhalgh are among the celebrities who have contributed a personal message to be played at the library.
Manchester's citywide network of libraries recorded more than 3.2 million visits last year, issued more than 1.3 million books and audio materials and recorded close to 1 million PC and WiFi sessions.
Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “We wholeheartedly share Stephen’s passionate belief in the importance of libraries, which are vital spaces offering access to books, computers, information, learning and social activities - for the whole community, for free.
“We’re proud that Central Library now welcomes two million visitors every year and there’s no doubt that Stephen has added a little extra magic for our library members through this wonderful message.”