Some 5,083 people enjoyed their first taste of the transformed library on Saturday 21 March as it opened to the public for the first time in almost four years. The most dedicated among them were even queuing outside the Grade II* listed St Peter’s Square landmark before the doors were thrown open at 9am.
The project has seen conservation improvements to the beautiful domed architecture, opening up more space for public access, and a new Town Hall extension with a state-of-the-art media lounge and interactive ‘Secret Garden’ themed children’s library designed by Mather & Co. They also designed the Heritage Lottery Funded digital Archives+ exhibition at ground level, providing a taster of the collections held at the Library and allowing visitors to contribute their own memories on digital and social media platforms. So flexible is the technology used that the exhibition content will be able to update on a daily basis.
Tom Davies, 28, interviewed on opening day said: ‘With the cafe downstairs hopefully it feel like somewhere people want to come rather than some people’s idea of a library just being somewhere to look at dusty old books. It feels like a bit more of a community hub now.’
Councillor Rosa Battle, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “This opening day has exceeded our expectations. Manchester residents have really taken ownership of the building from day one. It’s been a resounding success and we hope even more people will come and see what Central Library has to offer.”
View the full project here – Manchester Central Library