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Manchester Central Library plans

Detail of the big plans revealed

Published on January 29th 2010.

Manchester Central Library plans

We've had this from the Council. Worth reading, and relatively (and mercifully) free of hyperbole for a press release.

'One of Manchester’s finest and best-loved buildings, Manchester Central Library, will temporarily close later this year in order to enable vital restoration and refurbishment work to be carried out. It is part of the ambitious plans to transform Manchester’s Town Hall Complex and St Peter’s Square to create world-class services and spaces for the city’s residents and visitors.

We recognise that Manchester’s Central Library is one of the finest buildings in the city, and one of the finest libraries in the country. This refurbishment and restoration is absolutely necessary to ensure that the Library can continue to be a jewel in Manchester’s crown.

'The work will sensitively restore the current building and create an additional adjoining, ultra-modern city centre community library, integrated with a Customer Service Centre, in the refurbished Town Hall Extension.

'The temporary closure will take place in stages between late February and June 2010, and will involve the relocation of more than a million books to off-site storage, including around 44,000 volumes published before 1850 and more than 30 works dating back to the fifteenth Century.

'A new temporary City Library will open at Elliot House (click here for our story about Elliot House) on Deansgate in June 2010 to ensure delivery of key library services. The City Library will have books, DVDs, newspapers and magazines with comfortable reading areas. There will also be computers, reference materials, business information and services for visually impaired people. The temporary City Library will also house the family history and local studies collections as well as access to collections from the famous Henry Watson Music Library. An integrated Archives Searchroom will also be available at the Greater Manchester County Record Office in the Northern Quarter.

'When Central Library reopens in 2013 it will boast a range of new and improved services including:

'New Archive Centre
This will feature a partnership of archive providers showcasing Manchester’s histories and treasures under one roof for the first time. Partner organisations include the North West Film Archive, the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society and the city’s Register Office.

'New lending library
A state-of-the-art family and community library for the city centre in the neighbouring Town Hall Extension, which will also provide an express lending and information service incorporating the latest technologies, including access to some 24 hour access to library services.

'Electronic catalogue
Over a million items will be added to the electronic catalogue while the library is closed, making access to the city’s collections better than it has ever been.

'Councillor Mike Amesbury, executive member for culture and leisure, said: “We recognise that Manchester’s Central Library is one of the finest buildings in the city, and one of the finest libraries in the country. This refurbishment and restoration is absolutely necessary to ensure that the Library can continue to be a jewel in Manchester’s crown. When it reopens, we will see an array of new services as well as a brand new state-of-the-art lending library in the Town Hall Extension, which will complement the services available in the library itself.”

'Neil MacInnes, head of Manchester’s library services, added: “The restoration and refurbishment represents an exciting new phase in the history of Manchester’s Central Library.

“I recognise that it does mean there will be some inconvenience with the temporary closure, but we are doing all we can to ensure that disruption is minimised. We will have a fantastic temporary City Library at Elliot House and we are working with partners to ensure that as many materials as possible are accessible from new homes during the closure period. Library members can also find a wide range of high quality, reliable on-line reference resources on our website.”

'As part of the transformation, The Theatre Royal on Peter Street has been identified as the preferred new home for the Library Theatre Company (click here for our story).

'This venture would not only bring a historic theatre back into use it would also give Manchester a state-of-the-art theatre space that retains the intimacy of the Library Theatre, space for on-site education workshops and community activities, a second space for informal performance and front of house facilities fit for the 21st century.

'The Library Theatre will operate as normal until its last performance in the Central Library on 4 July 2010. Meanwhile the Library Theatre Company’s core team will move into a temporary base at Zion Arts on Stretford Road next July. From there it embarks on a very big adventure presenting regular performances at the Lowry and some exciting theatre events in some surprising sites in Manchester.'

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

PreviewJanuary 29th 2010.

Well as long as we still have books in it when it returns that will be something.

ReviewJanuary 29th 2010.

It wouldn't be a library without books.

DimviewJanuary 29th 2010.

Books pah. Let's turn it into a big roller-disco, flashing light, the glitter of twisting and turning spandrex.

AnonymousFebruary 5th 2010.

Has anyone asked us what we want? or visited other areas to find what is the best? And if we can't find some can we have a facility to buy it on Amazon.

AnonymousFebruary 5th 2010.

Many years ago (pre Thatcher) Public Libraries used to cooperate to provide 'any book in the universe' on request and indeed also access to academic material which is hidden behind pay walls now. But will the new 'community library' do this? I suspect 'The Cameroon's' cuts will get there first and hive it off (commission) to Waterstones/HMV... back to pre war Boots libraries maybe.

AnonymousFebruary 5th 2010.

As part of your political party broadcast, you forgot to mention it was Labour who put up the pay walls.

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