International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day takes place on the 21st February every year. There are around 200 languages spoken in Manchester making it one of the most diverse cities in Europe. Manchester Libraries is proud to have celebrated it this year with a number of vibrant, extremely well attended events, as part of the Manchester City of Literature events programme.

International Mother Language Day at North City Library

Selection of words in various languages crafted in paper for International Mother Language Day

North City Library hosted a fabulous celebration for International Mother Language Day, it was a fun-packed afternoon as attendees joined in with various activities including dancing, crafts, and singing in various languages. Benn from Dance Global showed everyone how to rock some cool international dance grooves. Local artist Mandy created a brilliant Speech Bubble activity using cut out paper.

Cheetham Sketcher and Mary Burke helped children and families create a collage canvas of the historic Harpurhey Bath House. The canvas was created using decoupage text in Chinese, Urdu, Hebrew and Irish Gaelic. A multilingual Story Zone and Chill Out Corner was also enjoyed where music from around the world was played. Drinks and snacks were available for everyone, and were much needed during such a busy day! Families went home buzzing with the excitement of the day and told us they’d really enjoyed it and learnt something new. It gets better every year!

International Mother Language Day at the Forum Library

Families engaged in the activities at the Forum Library

Forum Library staff planned an amazing afternoon of cultural creativity, fun and community celebration for International Mother Language Day. It was very well attended with children and adults getting to join in the workshops, including making a Maasai necklace, and painting either a jar or a cup in the colours of your Mother Language country.

Children enjoyed decorating a wooden heart with a positive message and also designing a ‘Home Sweet Home’ wall canvas. There was live music from Papa Sam and a high energy interactive dance session from Afro-Tots. Many people just wanted to soak up the atmosphere and sit back and enjoy. Forum Women’s group also offered attendees hand massages and relaxing nail art, which was a very relaxing addition to such a busy event!

International Mother Language Day at Longsight Library

International Mother Language Day event, Calligrapher holding her artwork

International Mother Language Day at Longsight Library was a huge success, there were over 500 participants! Our friends from Anamika Cultural Group made a selection of beautiful International Mother Language Day & Bangla themed badges. Mindful Mhendi drawings, origami, Ojos De Dios, painting and Calligraphy in Arabic and Chinese were just a few of the activities available and enjoyed by all.

Cakes & Masala Chai was offered by Women’s Voices, and Rethink Rebuild came along with their very popular Arabic Coffee, dates & date cookies! Local Author Bob Merrell, alongside Talk English student Tehera delivered a thoroughly inspiring dual language story “Little Bird” which is about a young Indian girl following her dreams. One older woman told us “I made many new friends, I am single, I enjoyed everything and I sang one of the Asian songs”. 

International Mother Language Fun Day at Central Library

School Children showing their artwork with the teachers and staff

As Central Library celebrated International Mother Language Day they were joined by communities from Lithuania, Amazigh, Pakistan, Syria, Hungary, Armenia, the Damascene Arabic school and ESOL students from MAES. Attendees enjoyed Indian calligraphy crafts and storytelling and Bollywood dance sessions. All of the groups gave a short presentation about their culture and language and brought along taster foods for people to try. Fabulous music was enjoyed as the Armenian children sang, and the Hungarian children played zithers and also sang. Around 200 people attended the event, it was a real party atmosphere and more communities were asking if they could take part in the day in future. Feedback included:

“We are so happy to come here where you make us feel so welcome and where nothing is too much trouble”.

“Amazing. This was the best yet. Well done.”

Start-Up Day

Becky presenting to the Start-Up Day audience

Start-up Day is the Business & IP Centre’s annual day of activities aimed at start-ups and people looking to start a business, this year it was themed towards creative industries. It was a fantastic day full of talks, networking and speed mentoring! Carol Ann Whitehead, Co-Founder of The Zebra Partnership talked about how she started her business. Iain McCallum, provided an inspiring talk about ‘Promoting Your Creative Business with PR’, our Expert BIPC Podcaster in Residence, Vic Elizabeth Turnbull talked about why it is a good idea to start a podcast.

In the afternoon, Becky Chorlton from Becky’s Bazaar shared top tips on how to use TikToc! Attorneys from Addleshaw Goddard talked about ‘How to Protect your Creative Business with IP’, and finally there was an amazing panel discussion to discuss ‘Freelancing in the Creative Industries’ hosted by Martyn Walsh of the Inspiral Carpets. Our amazing panel also included tips and inspiring stories from Alison Surtees (BECTU) and Karen Boardman GMMC & Crisis Management/Arts Council. The day ended with Speed Mentoring, where attendees had they chance to talk to the experts!

Storytelling Week at North City Library

Story teller and puppets

Ilaria Passeri joined us for National Storytelling Week in February to deliver a lovely story workshop at North City Library with Year One children from Moston Lane Primary School. Ilaria conjured up her wonderful Honey Pot Village and all of the animals who live there including Rita the Mouse, Brian the Chicken and a scary, tail-swishing Derek the Dragon. Children discovered that Derek was only scary because he wasn’t feeling well so the children helped Ilaria and the toys mix up a magic potion to cure him and it really worked!

LGBTQ+ History Month Activities at Central Library

Close up of a paper crafted rainbow

Families joined in with activities at Central Library to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month at our “Behind the lens” themed animation workshop inspired by popular culture and LGBTQ+ themed crafts. Brightly coloured rainbow mobiles and keyrings brightened the day plus the older children created a wonderful stop motion walking sequence. Parents were very interested in learning more about free online apps to continue the animations at home.

LGBT+ History Month crafts at Withington and Didsbury Library

Didsbury and Withington Library ran two wonderful workshops with local artist Mandy Cleveland to promote and celebrate LGBT+ History Month. Withington Library made Rainbow mobiles, and Didsbury library made Light up Rainbow Rockets (photograph at the top of this page). Both were family focussed and these workshops proved to be very popular with children, grown-ups and staff all having fun and going home with the lovely Rainbow crafts they had created.

LGBT History Month Activities at Longsight Library

Paper craft of two people

Artist Nate Frost visited some of our libraries to share a great LGBT History Month activity for children. Nate delivered a variety of activities such as printing and working with fabrics which have been inspired and designed by LGBTQ fashion designers. The children were very excited to create their characters using materials available. Many of the children made characters of themselves choosing how they would visibly express themselves if they could wear absolutely anything they wanted, this was so lovely to see! One of the children said: “I loved it. My name is Alayah, I had so much fun. I want to do it again”.

Family Film Club at Central Library

Selection of Irish picture books

In February, we were lucky to be joined by Sarah Mangan, the Irish Consulate General for the North of England, who brought along the Irish storyteller Pat the Hat. Families joined us for an interactive story session before the film screening of ‘Song of the Sea’ and some themed crafts. It was a great session which the families really enjoyed. The Consulate General also gifted the library some children’s books in the Irish language. Feedback included:

“We loved to see this session from another culture and want to speak to someone from our community (Philippines) to see if we could also do something here for International Mother Language Day.”

Heartstone Project

Selection of artwork with messages written by children

Library staff ran a project with Pioneer House special school working with the Heartstone Odyssey book by Arvan Kumar. The aim of the project was to give young people a safe space to discuss issues covered in the story such as racial hatred and prejudice. The project ran for 5 sessions, library staff got to know the students, read some of the book and used the time to to create artwork both about the story and also to produce work which will become part of a joint exhibition with work created by other groups.

Story boxes were made to illustrate scenes from the book. Each child designed a section of a banner and used their own words to describe how to make improvements regarding how they treat other people, as well as how they want to be treated. A Heartstone charter using all of the words included will be use in school, all of the staff involved were really happy with how much the students engaged with creating their artwork and are keen to do more projects in the future.

Children’s Mental Health week at North City Library

Another success story for Abraham Moss Library was a special story and craft activity led by library staff for Children’s Mental Health Week. This activity was focused on children aged 4-10yrs and their families, it featured a wonderful book called ‘Find Your Happy’ by Emily Coxhead. This inspiring and cheerful book is all about how everyone feels sad, angry or shy sometimes and how we can find help to lift our mood. Each child attending the session received a free gift copy of ‘Find Your Happy’ to take home.