Manchester Central Library set to mark 10 years since historic reopening

  • Tuesday 19 March 2024

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Landscape of Manchester Central Library in St Peter's Square

One of Manchester’s most celebrated libraries will mark its 10th anniversary since it opened to the public.

Manchester Central Library, located in the heart of busy St Peter’s Square, was officially opened by King George V on 17 July 1934.

Affectionately known as the “jewel in the crown” of Manchester’s libraries, it underwent a major transformation in 2014 to revamp its appearance and services to millions of library-goers.

Now 90 years after its grand opening, the historic library is the most visited one in the city attracting up to 12.3 million visitors who want to find a safe and dynamic place to work, read or bask in silence. And this year, will host an array of events to celebrate its historic milestones.

Manchester Central Library’s anniversary celebrations are:

  • Celebration marking 10 years since reopening and recording archives, school groups partake, and the Lord Mayor cuts a birthday cake - 22 March
  • Libraries Festival Sunday Funday, main day of celebrations - 16 June
  • Manchester Central Library 90th anniversary celebrating local businesses and age-friendly activities – 17 July

For its historic 90th anniversary celebrations (June 16), loyal visitors are expected to be treated to a 1930’s themed performers in a special nod to the glitzy era of the grand opening. Featuring characters from the famous Mary Poppin’s book series, people can expect to be in awe of an all-singing, all-dancing Bert and Mary Poppins herself just like the much-loved film.

Joined by two soaring chimney sweepers in stilts, visitors can expect to be dazzled by their great heights as they make their way through the crowds. Showcasing the very best of Manchester’s coveted music scene, local musicians are set to perform in small, intimate gigs and packed jamming sessions in the library music performance area.

A special library card design competition will also launch giving every child in Manchester an opportunity to be gifted one of the cards which will be available for collection across all 22 of the city’s libraries.

In addition, a commemorative postcard will also be gifted, mirroring the handkerchief gift given to all of Manchester in 1934 as part of the venues grand opening.

Amid celebrations, the library’s expansive and high-quality services will also be on full display.

The introduction of Library Live, supported by the Manchester Central Library Development Trust, offers a rich cultural programme dedicated to fun days for all the family, lively performances and celebrations of significant events such as Black History Month and the Festival of Libraries.

In partnership with Read Manchester and the National Literacy Trust, events encouraging children to read through giving away books at foodbanks and library reading sessions have accumulated 76,000 volunteering hours.

While a new children’s library opened in 2021 welcomes families to explore new books, whimsical wildlife art and cosy crawl-through spaces.

Manchester Central Library marks its 90th anniversary on 16 June and its 10-year anniversary on 22 March.

Councillor John Hacking, Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure, said: “This is a momentous time for Manchester as it prepares to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Manchester Central Library’s opening and its 10th anniversary since its major refurbishment to improve our spaces for visitors.

“The biggest library in our city centre has been steadfast in providing residents with a safe place to learn, share ideas and nurture the deep sense of community in every visitor that steps through our doors including families, students and countless volunteers.

“Similar to our rich history almost 100 years ago, we hope celebrating this anniversary will continue to inspire and motivate our residents and partners to continue to hold Manchester Central Library up as a cornerstone to their community.”



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