Residents will benefit from greater access to Manchester libraries from 6 September 2021 as library services return to pre-covid opening hours.
The news comes as libraries expand service hours with an extension of the Open Plus library service to The Avenue in Higher Blackley. Open Plus allows residents entry to libraries using PIN control access with a library card when staff are not on the premises.
It is the third library to offer this extended service to its communities which already operated successfully at Withington Library and The Forum in Wythenshawe. It means that residents in all areas of the city will have access to libraries with extended hours, three of them using Open Plus technology and two other libraries, Hulme High Street/Moss Side and Arcadia in partnership with Grenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) who operate Manchester's leisure facilities.
Library activities that have not been possible during the pandemic will now be up and running again. Activities for families and children restart, including the Tiny Tots and Toddler times later in September. Loads To Do has all the information on what's going on in Manchester libraries https://loadstodo.co.uk/. The number of free Internet PCs are now back to pre-covid levels.
Feedback from residents and library users over the last twelve months has been very positive with messages of thanks being posted on social media and sent into libraries. In a recent customer survey at Central Library, 87% of customers said that their visit to Central Library has made them feel happier and that using a library has improved their lives and never more so than during the pandemic.
As the city enters this final phase of a return to pre-pandemic normality, Executive member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar has expressed his thanks to library staff who have played a vital role in offering an essential and much valued service to communities across the city.
He said: " As our libraries prepare for the next phase of reconnection with our residents and communities, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank staff for their commitment, hard work and contribution to the ongoing delivery of library services to Manchester residents throughout the pandemic. We have all had to adapt our ways of working and libraries have excelled throughout an ever-changing landscape to ensure that our residents were supported through the digital arena first and then a blended model when libraries were able to open their doors again and welcome people into their buildings in a covid-secure manner.
"Libraries, as we all know offer a lifeline to people, and studies show that they help to combat loneliness, they are not just information hubs but community hubs providing opportunities to meet people and engage in social activities, so I am delighted that we will soon be able to get back to pre-pandemic levels offering our wide range of services and community activities as we did before. I would strongly urge anyone who is not a member or hasn't been to one of our libraries to consider joining or restarting as our surveys indicate you're missing out if you're not a regular library user."
Over the last year, there have been nearly 300,000 visits to the city’s libraries, 64,000 of which is to use the free Internet and over 250,000 books have been borrowed.
Library opening dates and hours can be found at www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries.