After the UK wide lockdown and closure of Public Libraries in March 2020, here at Manchester Libraries we began the task of responding to the challenge of service continuity during the crisis. All our talented teams throughout the service got together to come up with new ways of connecting with our customers. We were determined to remain at the heart of our communities! 

From the Children’s and Adult’s teams to Business and Archives, we wanted to stay in touch and provide help, assistance and fun during these unprecedented times.

We took many of our services that normally make our libraries bustling hives of activity online. The online reading offer was heavily promoted and our major e-book and magazine platforms saw a big increase in usage. The yearly Chorlton Book Festival went online with author discussions and panel events.

We knew digital support for vulnerable and excluded residents would be vital and our offer included 1-1 telephone support, free tablets and data, and even free Chromebooks. 

Our Summer Reading Challenge went online – a feast of fun including daily activities from draw alongs, author readings (Nick Sharrat!), to craft videos and poetry. Many of our staff jumped at the opportunity to make home videos, reading stories and demonstrating fun and educational activities.

And our popular Social media channels were used to stay in touch and answer enquiries, with new features like Twitter Hours for different service areas, along with increased blog articles and newsletters.

Business support was also vital. Our business team continued throughout providing online training courses, webinars, clinics and 1-1 support for start ups and businesses.

Many of our new activities have continued after re-opening, and much of it has been archived on our new Youtube channel.