Manchester City Council is set to invest around £100,000 in a refurbishment for the children’s library based at Central Library.
Plans for the refurbishment are currently being finalised, with potential features for the children’s library including quiet space with comfy seating, a high-backed story-telling chair and “cosy corner”, where children and their parents can sit together to discover new books. Portholes, allowing children to climb through different sections, could be incorporated, as could a blackboard wall for displaying posters and art, while the current garden theme will be retained.
Users of the children’s library were asked for their feedback on how the space could be improved during family sessions and under-fives storytimes held early in 2020, before lockdown. Parents said that they were keen to see a larger, more flexible space, with more comfy seating. The refurbishment is provisionally due to be completed by summer 2021.
The news comes as Manchester prepares to begin reopening it’s libraries to the public for limited browsing from Monday 12 April, in line with Government guidance and regulations. All libraries have been assessed as Covid-secure, with steps in place to minimise risk.
Members will be able to enter the library and browse for a maximum of 30 minutes, with controls on the maximum number of people allowed into the building at any one time in place. PCs will be available to book in advance, or for walk-up customers, for a maximum of one hour. Printing and photocopying facilities are also available, while all issues of books will be via self-service.
Central Library’s ground, first and second floors will be reopened to customers, along with the lower ground floor City Library for limited browsing and PC and printer use. The library’s famous Reading Room will be available for study with reduced seating capacity.
In line with Covid guidelines, all visitors are required to wear a face covering, unless medically exempt. All customers are asked to sanitise their hands on entry to the library and to use disinfectant wipes to wipe down any equipment used before and after use. Social distancing is required and signage is in place to re-enforce these risk mitigation measures. Track and trace will also continue to be in place at all sites.
Opening hours for all local libraries can be found here. In line with the government’s roadmap, as national restrictions are gradually lifted over the next few months, libraries will expand opening hours and the range of services available.
Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, said: “The children’s library is one of the key features of Central Library and in normal times, is incredibly well-used. That’s why we are planning to invest in its’ long-term future, making sure that it continues to attract Manchester families and that we offer a whole new look for children to enjoy, after we’re able to safely reopen to visitors.
“I’m sure that once the pandemic allows, it will be really exciting for local children to see their refurbished children’s library. And although there is still a way to go before this can happen, we are looking forward to beginning the process of reopening our libraries to the public next month, in a careful way which aims keep all staff and visitors as safe as possible, while providing vital free access to information, learning opportunities and reading for pleasure for all in Manchester.”