Welcome to the new edition of my Manchester Libraries Bulletin providing news from libraries in and around the city with some highlights of what’s been going on throughout June 2019 – Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure

Drop Everything and Read

Central Library hosted one of the many ‘Drop Everything and Read’ events across the city. At 2pm on June 28 schools, businesses, community groups, and many more individuals and organisations dropped everything to read! Councillor Rahman can be seen here reading with Bookstart Bear where the Read Manchester (https://literacytrust.org.uk/communities/manchester/) campaign gifted nearly 200 free books to passers-by.

Manchester Readathon

Poet Tony Walsh has been encouraging children including Roary at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to read. The first ever mass Readathon saw 36,000 children in more than 100 schools across Manchester read for fun and raise money for their own school libraries and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Children from our city’s nurseries, schools and colleges joined forces and were sponsored to read what they love. The Manchester City Readathon will help fund the mobile bookcases at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

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Manchester Day Parade

North City and Abraham Moss Libraries held trailblazer hat workshops for the Manchester Day Parade. Families and children were invited to join in making the craziest hats they could with environmentally friendly materials. From these humble resources families made some amazingly colourful and exuberant creations which they wore in the Parade. Arcadia & Hulme High St Library also had pop up hat making sessions with local families. One mum said: “the kids were using their imagination to make a hat which was great and lots of fun!”

PRECIOUS Nights at Central Library

On Tuesday 11 June the Business & IP Centre Manchester was thrilled to host PRECIOUS NIghts At The Library. Aimed at professional women of colour, this was the first time out of London for this event. PRECIOUS Nights provides an opportunity to hear from previous PRECIOUS Awards finalists and winners about their business journey, get tips, be inspired and build networks with new contacts. The PRECIOUS Awards was founded in 2007 to celebrate and applaud the professional achievements of women of colour in the UK. The founder of PRECIOUS Awards, Foluke Akinlose MBE FRSA is from Manchester, so it was extra special being able to host the event in her city. She brought fantastic line up to the event. As well as hearing Foluke’s story, we were also joined by: Lisa Maynard Atem, who built and developed a global social portfolio that now boasts over 2.5 million followers across key social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the luxury store Harrods, and Dijonn Taylor: founder of two
award-winning businesses Young Graduate and Savvy Guest. A lively audience joined in the discussion and many powerful, inspiring stories were shared.

Empathy Week

Gorton Library had the author Tom Perceval to visit and share his book Rosie’s Worry as part of Empathy week. Year one, two and three pupils from Abbey Hey Primary heard the story and learnt that a problem is always worth sharing. Tom treated them to silly songs accompanied by his guitar playing. A teacher said: “Dylan really enjoyed the chorus of the song, especially the “Yo Ho Ho” part! Zuzanna liked being able to choose her favourite book. Kendra loved being picked to choose out of the box. Lenny loved the magic pen because it made the picture move. We all feel very happy that we were the chosen ones for a special library visit.”

Cressida Cowell visits Abraham Moss Library

Abraham Moss Library hosted a visit by How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell. 400 local children from Abraham Moss Primary School, Broadhurst Primary School, St Malachys RC School and Saviour CE Primary school gathered to hear wonderful and inspiring stories about Cressida’s early life and what inspired her to become one of the best-selling authors and illustrators.

A Great Get Together

Longsight Library held a super busy Great Get Together. In the spirit of the late Jo Cox MP. Longsight communities came together to share an afternoon getting to know each other over a coffee, tea, cakes, biscuits and most importantly conversation. We set up our community rooms in a cafe style encouraging conversations to flow. City of Sanctuary Volunteers delivered a story session to the younger children.

Digital Education Sessions for Children

Avenue Library and Learning Centre has had a busy few weeks hosting visits by Crosslee Primary School in Blackley to our Digital Education sessions for children. Library staff have welcomed every class for a simple introduction to the Library session plus activities themed to their current class topics. Children were taught how to use the Green Screen app, and learnt digital skills in teams creating special effects such as disembodied heads! Literacy lead Sophie Roberts said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank you and your staff for delivering such engaging sessions throughout this academic year; the children have thoroughly enjoyed them and they have supported us with our promotion of reading.”

Make a Noise in Libraries

Newton Heath and North City Libraries kicked off Make a Noise In Libraries fortnight with a couple of great sessions for adults and children with visual impairments. Cathy Moore from the Books To Go service demonstrated free Roberts Radios, available for loan. We demonstrated how to borrow Audio Books and enlargeable E-books from Manchester Libraries via the free Borrowbox app. Cathy also talked about. Books to Go and how housebound customers can access this service for free too.

Pyjamarama

Pyjamarama Bedtime Stories were held across all Manchester Libraries in June for pre-school and Early Years children but Abraham Moss Library staff really got the spirit of Pyjamarama. Everyone was dressed in their cosy PJs and dressing gowns and some children had even remembered their cuddly teddy bears! We hosted a Bedtime Story session for families of all ages complete with hot chocolate, healthy snacks and a lovely bedtime story or three! We also had free “Car, Car, Truck, Jeep” mini books & activities to give away. Kathryn from the Oral Health team also came along to give out some welcome advice about how to keep our teeth clean and healthy plus she gave out free dental health packs to our lovely families.

Made in Manchester: Multilingual Poem Launched

On Monday 10 June, our multilingual community poem was launched at Manchester Central Library, attended by over 100 special guests and contributors to the poem. Made in Manchester is a collaborative project led by Read Manchester and Manchester Libraries. Cllr Rahman had a vision to create a multilingual poem to celebrate the city’s rich diversity. Using local poet Zahid Hussain’s original poem as inspiration, local residents and school children wrote lines in response in both English and a second/heritage language.

Made in Manchester currently comprises 65 languages, including British Sign Language. Forty of the contributors were filmed to create a video illustrating some of that diversity in language and culture. This film is a window into the full written poem which can be viewed in Manchester Central Library. It will eventually be housed in Manchester Metropolitan’s University Poetry Library when it opens in 2020, and will continue to evolve and represent the city’s many communities.

In addition an art installation housed in the children’s library was commissioned to celebrate the multilingual poem ‘Made in Manchester’. Local artist, Emma Martin worked with nine schools to create this artwork, with around 200 pupils creating colourful portraits of classmates onto the multiple-language verses of the Made in Manchester poem.