This bulletin provides news from libraries in and around the city with some highlights of what’s been going on throughout the month. So much has been happening to serve our residents and visitors, and meet the needs of the people and the communities of Manchester.

Winter Warmer Sunday Funday at Central Library

Central Library opened its doors for a family fun day hosted by the Libraries Trust. Library staff offered an amazing programme of storytelling and interactive sessions from Artful Playground. Other activities included face painting, information stalls and amazing World Book Day crafts and costume making. It was a very successful day with 926 attendees. One visitor from London now living in Manchester said they were stunned at what an amazing event we were offering.

Digital Support in Manchester Libraries

Two ladies using the PCs

MCR Libraries are helping to foster digitally confident communities! By working with the Council’s Let’s Get Digital team, local libraries have become a digital hub that can help people get the support they need. So far, we have helped over 700 people get online by providing them with free sims loaded with internet data. Local digital skills workshops are available to help attendees apply for jobs, work on their CV, fill in forms online and more. Many of these are hosted in our libraries by dedicated staff. Libraries across Manchester are also helping people get access to vote! Find out more at our Manchester Libraries blog

World Book Day

Read Manchester and Manchester Libraries teamed up with Transport for Greater Manchester and World Book Day UK for an action-packed World Book Day. Early morning commuters across the Metrolink network were treated to free books on tram seats and for those who missed out, volunteers and Library staff were on hand with more free books at tram stops near to Central, Abraham Moss and Forum libraries. Visiting authors AM Dassu and LD Lapinski, whose books were part of the 2023 World Book Day collection, boarded the tram to give out books and treated children in two schools to fabulous sessions full of writing tips and story inspiration. Back at Central library, Hannah Gold wowed over 300 primary school children with awe inspiring wild animal facts from her award-winning books. An incredible 10,000 books were gifted on the day! You can read more about the day’s events on the Manchester Library blog.

World Book Day at Abraham Moss Library

Metrolink tram driver with some books

Abraham Moss Library staff joined in with the Manchester Metrolink World Book Day gifting events where they enjoyed giving away free books for children and adults at the tram stop. Lots of families were able to choose books for their children, themselves or grandchildren, nieces and nephews or just neighbours. One tram driver was excited to receive a couple of titles for his grandchildren and another jolly driver gave us a shout-out on his PA urging people to “get yourselves a World Book Day book – it’s better than TikTok!!”

World Book Day at Withington Library

Withington Library staff had the pleasure of celebrating World Book Day with some of the fabulous children at Mauldeth Road Primary school. Library staff spent the day visiting different classes reading to the children and talking about books and libraries. Each class was gifted a full set of the World Book Day books and the children were very excited to add the books to their classroom reading corners. Everyone had a great time and enjoyed seeing the children so enthusiastic and animated about book characters and stories.

International Women’s Day at Hulme High Street Library

Pebble art

Hulme Library celebrated International Women’s Day with many of Hulme’s partners and local organisations. The Age Friendly Group turned up to help facilitate a very peaceful, chatty and at times mindful pebble decorating session. The group are increasingly sharing their creative skills with each other and are so welcoming of anyone new coming to join in, recently they are embarking on embroidery sessions. Earlier in the day the Talk English session discussed what they wanted for women and filled paper women with their desires such as choice, respect and freedom.

International Women’s Day at Central Library

Directly after an amazingly successful Walk for Women, Central Library invited all the groups and individuals who participated to join us for an afternoon of celebration. With help from the International Women’s Day steering group, the Zebra Partnership and Access Creative students, library staff delivered an afternoon of musical performances, talks, an African fashion show and 20 information stalls. Various Women’s groups from across Manchester celebrated together, creating a diverse and fully inclusive event. The Trailblazers displayed their beautiful handmade bunting in celebration of Margaret Ashton, the first woman to be elected to Manchester City Council. Women of Irish Heritage held their afternoon tea get together in one of Central Library’s meeting rooms. It was a brilliant festival atmosphere and in the words of Counsellor Eve Holt, who recited her poem at the event, “We Rise We Roar We Represent”.

International Women’s Day – Women in Business and Creative Industries

Members of the panel sat on the stage

More females than males study creatives arts subjects, but a smaller proportion of women go into creative jobs after graduation. The creative arts play a significant part in the UK economy, contributing billions of pounds and creating millions of jobs. Manchester Business & IP Centre organised a special networking event for International Women’s Day with an amazing guest host Carol Ann Whitehead CMgr CCMI, fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, co-founder of creative industry agency The Zebra Partnership! Carol Ann hosted a conversation with Susan Botello, film maker and founder of the International Mobile Film Festival, which was live from San Diego, California!

Next up was a Women in Creative Industries panel discussion with Julie Foy – Oscar winner producer, Director and actress, Emma Mould- Singer Songwriter and Director of Gate 54 CIC, Angela Boggiano – BBC Good Food writer, TV Chef and Food author and Director of At The Kitchen Cookery School and Studio and Shirley May- Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Poet and Founder and Artistic Director of Young Identity CIC! The panel each shared their journey of the highs, the lows during their progression in the creative industry, and the attendees had lot’s of questions to ask at the end, it was a great event with lot’s of new connections made!

Sonic Listening at Moss Side Powerhouse and Gorton Library

Child listening to the sound of a speaker against a chair

Modus Arts artist Wajid brought their amazing SoundHoppers activity to Moss Side Powerhouse Library and Gorton Library, this consisted of a suitcase full of weird and wonderful sonic instruments alongside more traditional instruments! Attendees were very engaged and inquisitive. Children enjoyed investigating and figuring out which objects were the best conductors of sound by placing their ears on various places around the library such as on bench’s and books. One child listened to music via their mother’s finger in their ear and a small speaker placed upon her elbow! When children were asked about their favourite part of the activity, one child replied “When we held the speaker to our heads. I liked it because I liked the vibration it felt like a head massage.”

North City Library – Grand Day Out

North City Library’s popular Age Friendly social group members were very excited to be invited to attend the Royal Exchange Theatre for a matinee performance of ‘Beginning’. North area Libraries have partnered with the Royal Exchange Theatre for many years and were able to offer community tickets to library groups to allow them to access high quality cultural events. The Grand Day Out group also were happy to be invited and were really keen to attend the play which was a bittersweet comedy about risking it all, and wearing your heart on your sleeve. The group all agreed that they’d had an excellent experience.

“Absolutely topnotch! Wonderful – we really loved it. It made us laugh so much! When can we come again?”

“It was so relatable – everyone has been through something like this.”

“Thank you so much for getting the tickets and organising this for us. We really appreciate it.”

Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People: Young Creatives

Three young people recreating a scene in Manchester Town Centre

As part of the ongoing youth project with Contact, Archives+ and GMCDP, the Young Creatives recreated a selection of photographs from the Disabled People’s Movement archive held at Archives+, one of the largest disability collections in the country. The group made their way through the city centre to find exact locations for their chosen archives. It was lots of fun recreating the scenes and they found it very interesting to see how different businesses made their premises accessible. One of the young people even got to try out a fabulous “roller coaster” style ramp which was fitted to a heritage building! These photos will be used in their online game which they are designing with Contact.

Author Visit at Chorlton and Newton Heath Library

Local Primary Schools in Newton Heath and Chorlton Library were very excited to accept our invitations to attend a special event with Mark Bradley, author of Bumble and Snug graphic novels for children about feelings and emotion. Years 3 and 6 joined us for a hilarious hands-on session drawing and sketching stories with Mark. The children’s concentration was intense and they had some brilliant questions to ask Mark, plus they created some amazing bugbop monsters as part of their illustrations. Many children took up the offer of a new or replacement library card and we were able to give the cards out at the end of the sessions as well as taking home a free World Book Day bookmark. This was a very engaging and funny visit for the children and the Library staff really enjoyed it too.

Crafts Activities at Fallowfield Library

Families and their children at Fallowfield library are a very artistic bunch and love spending the afternoon getting hands on with creative activities. Library staff enjoyed seeing such imagination and enthusiasm as the children embraced the craft table full of art materials, some beautiful creations and art work produced at the event.