Who doesn’t love a new book at Christmas? Read Manchester and Manchester Libraries have been working hard to ensure that every child is given the gift of reading this festive season. The appeal launched by the Central Library Development Trust to support our book gifting programme is gathering pace and we’re almost at 50% of the £5,000 target. If you can help, please donate.

Book gifting on a mass scale isn’t without its logistical challenges though. With an expected 22,000 books and magazines coming in to be donated at Christmas and into next year, Read Manchester had to find a location big enough to house the books and with enough space to sort and pack books while remaining Covid-safe. The meeting room at Gorton Library would normally be buzzing with all kinds of community group sessions, from toddlers to yoga classes, but as these can’t currently take place, the room was free to become book gifting HQ!

Every book is stickered and bookmarks added to each order. There are currently 60 organisations who will receive books to gift to the families they work with. This includes food banks, community grocers, play schemes and children’s centres. The orders will be tailor-made with the correct quantity of books in each age group for each organisation. That’s a lot of counting, packing, boxes and sticky tape!

The book gifting has been a team effort, brilliantly supported by partners. Manchester Children’s Book Festival (Manchester Metropolitan University) has liaised with publishers to secure donations of new books. These have been delivered to one of the team’s houses due to reduced opening hours in Libraries and then transported to Gorton. Manchester Art Gallery have loaned their van and driver for deliveries, and staff from a creche in Longsight have been stickering books for two weeks now. Library staff from many teams have supported the gifting – from the Prison, Books to Go, the Children’s team and the fabulous Gorton Library staff.

And it’s not over yet…!