Re­furb has taken li­brary from strength to strength

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Oliver Wright

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

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