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Manchester Libraries have worked through an incredibly busy time since the official reopening of its services on 12 April. It is expected they will become busier again from 21 June, with the opening hours of libraries increasing, near to pre-COVID opening hours
Central Library will now be open until 8pm from Monday to Thursday, with the library café open until 7.30pm. This is a reflection of more and more people returning to using their local libraries in person, as well as accessing all the virtual events and electronic resources.
Since the reopening of libraries there have been over 70,000 visits to the city’s libraries, 14,000 of which is to use the free Internet and over 55,000 books have been borrowed.
The next thing to look out for is this year’s Summer Reading Challenge called the Wild World Heroes, where thousands of children will be reading books over the summer, and families will be attending events in our libraries.
Manchester Libraries has also been awarded Libraries of Sanctuary status. This is in recognition of the warm welcome received by asylum seekers and refugees when visiting the libraries. Several sanctuary seekers have volunteered in libraries and events have been held celebrating the diversity of Manchester, like at the upcoming annual Refugee Week. The award was presented by Manchester City of Sanctuary at the Sunday Funday held at Central Library on 13 June.
That event was the first major face to face event held in libraries since the start of the pandemic, and witnessed hundreds of happy families relishing being back at Central Library. The event was the culmination of Festival of Libraries which saw nearly 100 virtual and face to face events across Greater Manchester’s libraries.
Liz Hibberd from Manchester City of Sanctuary, said: “It was fantastic to be able to present the Sanctuary Award for Manchester Libraries. Across the city, library staff have worked hard to learn, embed and share understanding and best practice to ensure that those seeking sanctuary are welcomed, understood and supported.”
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “In recent months it has been so impressive to see how well staff at all Manchester Libraries have adapted the libraries service to allow for all visitors to remain safe, and how valued the libraries are by our residents.
“It is welcome news that libraries opening times can return to being more in line with the pre-COVID opening times.
“With all the safety measures in place, longer opening times, there are plenty of reasons to see what your local library has to offer you.”