Refurb has taken library from strength to strength
MANCHESTER Central Library is more popular than ever – four years after reopening its doors following a major transformation.
More than 1.5m people visited the city centre landmark in 2017 – up from just over 1m in 2009/2010, the final year before the project to completely refurbish the building’s interior began.
Central Library has been visited more than 5.5m times since reopening on March 22, 2014.
Almost 50,000 people attended a packed sched- ule of activities, artistic performances and educational sessions held at Central Library in 2017 – a huge rise from around 5,000 people in 2009/10.
The library now has its own cultural programme, Library Live, which offers everything from author readings and talks to gigs, film nights, open mic evenings and creative courses.
Company Chameleon’s critically acclaimed ‘Illuminate’ dance performance at the library was recently attended by 450 people.
Illuminate, which brings the characters who live within the pages of books to life – and has since been presented at three more libraries in Manchester – was hosted to show that there are no limits to the creativity which can be generated within libraries.
Meanwhile, the firstfloor exhibition space hosted exhibitions including Jill Furmanovsky’s ‘Oasis: DNA’, which presented highlights from the legendary rock photographer’s portfolio of images of the Gallagher brothers.
During the library transformation project, the Wolfson Reading Room and original furniture was lovingly restored.
Some 70 per cent of the building’s space is now open to the public – compared to just 30 per cent of the building pre-transformation – with a 2,000sqm City Library having been created on the lower ground floor.
Other features across the library’s four floors include performance spaces, two cafes, a dedicated children’s library and the Archives+ Centre for local and family history.
Neil MacInnes, Manchester council’s lead for libraries, galleries and culture, said: “Four years have flown by since Central Library reopened its doors and we’re very proud of the way in which its popularity continues to grow.
“Our focus on creating an accessible environment and providing the widest possible range of events has been rewarded.”
The landscape has changed both inside Manchester Central Library, above, as well as outside, below