At Manchester Libraries we know how important it is to encourage children to love books from an early age.  There are so many benefits to helping babies fall in love with books and libraries. Here are just a few of them: 

  • Together time – cuddling, smiling, singing and laughing 
  • Meeting local families and making friends at a library storytime session 
  • Developing early language skills 
  • Helping toddlers be ready for school 

You can read more about all the benefits in this fantastic resource from BookTrust. 

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity and we’re proud to partner with them to deliver a variety of programmes and campaigns in Manchester. This year we’re busy gifting over 14,000 Bookstart Baby, Preschooler packs and other amazing resources to families.  These resources are worth over £174,000 to the city and are an integral part of our Manchester Libraries’ and Read Manchester Early Years’ strategy.  

A great deal of hard work, planning and co-operation between colleagues and partner organisations gets the BookTrust packs out to families.  Here’s what we do: 

Bookstart Baby packs: Every baby (0-12 months) is given a Bookstart Baby pack.  In the city we have been working with colleagues from the Registrar service for a number of years and parents are gifted their pack when they register the birth of their new baby.  This year we’ll be gifting 6540 packs to our new babies! 

Bookstart Toddler packs: these are designed to make reading a fun and rewarding activity to do as a family.  These are gifted to families via our Manchester Surestart Centres.  

Preschooler packs: Preschooler packs to 3-4 year olds via our school nursery classes. This year over 4,100 children from 88 schools have received these fantastic packs which include books and a range of activities all designed to be fun and to help them be school ready. 

Additional Needs packs: We work in partnership with the Rodney House Outreach Service (Early Years) and Manchester Sensory Support Service to ensure that Bookstart Additional Needs packs are delivered to eligible children across the city. 

Dual Language Books 

As Manchester is such a diverse city, we’re keen to provide opportunities for children and families where English is not their first language.  We provide dual-language books in over 30 community languages to families through our bookgifting and library programmes to make book-sharing more accessible.   


You will find storytimes for pre-school children in our libraries across the city. Visit Storytimes for pre-school children | What we have for children in libraries | Manchester City Council to find out more. They are a great opportunity for your and your child to meet other families, listen to rhymes, songs and stories and take part in a shared activity. Books are free to borrow, with no fines if they are late back, and they will help your child develop skills including talking and listening, sitting and focusing, and their use of imagination.