Poet and author Joseph Coelho visited us at Manchester Central Library as part of his Library Marathon around the UK. Joseph is aiming to join the library in every authority around the country and he has now joined 138 out of 209 authorities. While Joseph was in Manchester he spent the day at Central Library where he ran three sessions speaking to primary school children about his work and also shared different tricks and tips for helping to write their own poetry.
Manchester musicians, poets and residents came together at Longsight Library in November for their second Creative Community Library Late! The Creative Community project included a series of three workshops for under 18s and three workshops for ages 18+ covering a range of artistic activities including poetry, movement and expression. Participants shared poetry and songs with themes of community, climate change, mental health and friendship. Everyone was happy to see the space being used for younger voices too as many young people took to the mic to share work they had created. A brilliant start to a life of creativity and community!
Business author and former BBC TV journalist Steve Rawling delivered his ‘Pitching and Presenting’ workshop at Beswick Library in November. This session was organised with the Business and Intellectual Property team based at Manchester Central Library to help support start-ups and entrepreneurs who would like to hear tips on how to deliver a great presentation or pitch. Steve showed attendees a positive experience as he shared his knowledge on how to engage and influence decision makers in their favour. Our audience took away lots of really great advice about marketing and customer profiling to use in their future business plans.
This year’s Christmas in Moss Side involved not only the library and the Powerhouse Centre but many other partners including housing providers, the fire service and lots of community organisations. Everyone came together in the sports hall to put on a Christmas Fayre for local children, young people and families providing a range of activities and fun. After the lights switch on and singing from Divine Mercy & St Mary’s in the park everyone came back to the library for more singing and to meet Father Christmas who handed out 110 selection boxes!!!
Rockin Rhinos was part of the Creative Spaces Autumn Programme, this was a fantastic rock music concert for families with children under ten years old. The Rhinos really set the place alight with their chaotic brand of fun and riotous music including their signature Manchester Literature Festival commissioned ‘The Book Son’ and the unforgettable Christmas mash-up ‘Mustang Mary-Little Donkey’! Kids were grooving and jumping along with dancing mums and dads, armed with plenty of instruments and puppets from the library toy box. Parents and children were really enthusiastic: “Brilliant event – Thank You. Please put more on! My children love the events the Library do.”
Winners of a literature competition from Didsbury High school students came to visit Withington library to enjoy an activity as part of their prize. All of the students were given a tote bag to decorate with a quote and image from one of their favourite books. The children completely excelled at this craft and created some fantastic bags, the designs included quotes from Winnie the Pooh, Charlotte’s Web and Harry Potter! The activity was so popular that even the teachers got in on the action designing their own bags! Everyone left in high spirits, saying they had really enjoyed the trip to the library and are looking forward to their next visit.
Commissioned by Manchester Libraries for the Creative Spaces programme a group of young people from Manchester Enterprise Academy filled Wythenshawe’s Forum Library with their own micro-festival! Months of hard work paid off with a vibrant and lively event, with over 200 attendees. Activities were planned with the aim of offering a ‘taste of the world’, celebrating diverse cultures, and to bring the local community together. Scrumptious Persian, Mexican, Thai and Indian food was served. Activities like marbling and willow pattern painting were brought to everyone by Manchester artists.
Manchester Libraries participate in the national Summer Reading Challenge every year. This year our Space Chase results were out of this world! Highlights include: 44,000 library books read, 8,940 children joined, 6,148 children completed (reading at least six books) and 8,042 children and adults attended our free library activity programme! Goody bags were awarded to draw winners at every library in recognition of their special effort in reading and ‘going the extra mile’. Twenty two of our winners even met children’s award-winning author, Jacqueline Wilson!
This years Christmas Musical Extravaganza was popular as ever! With entertainment provided by choirs and bands which the Henry Watson Library has worked with and supported through the year, including Loreto Big Band, Cavendish Choir and the Manchester Community Choir. In addition there was a host of activities for children including a special tree decoration activity by members of the Lithuanian, Mexican, Chinese, Amazigh and Russian communities which are now on display in Central Library. There was, of course, an appearance by Father Christmas!
I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This bulletin provides news from libraries in and around the city with some highlights of what’s been going on throughout the month. So much has been happening to serve our residents and visitors, and meet the needs of the people and the communities of Manchester.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman (Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure) Manchester City Council.