Manchester Central Library reopens

Manchester Central Library opened its doors to the public on Saturday for the first time in three years, following a £48m refurbishment.

In addition to the refurbishment of original features the building now includes a new media lounge for filmmakers, designers and gamers, in addition to the Archives+ Centre, bringing together a collection of paper and film archives under one roof. There is also a Children's Library and Business Library.

Manchester Central Library is also home to the North West's first British Film Institute Mediatheque where visitors can enjoy films and TV for free, including a special collection devoted to Manchester and the North West.

City Library, a new lending library on the lower ground floor, provides an extra 21,528 sq ft of library space.

More than 5,000 people visited the library on its first day of re-opening on Saturday.

Cllr Rosa Battle, executive member for culture and leisure at Manchester City Council, said: "The reborn Central Library is nothing short of spectacular. Anyone who liked this Manchester gem before is going to love it now. But anyone who thought Central Library wasn't for them should come and have a look too – because it is no exaggeration to say that there's something for everyone under its iconic dome."

Laing O'Rourke was the contractor on the scheme and is also continuing work on Manchester Town Hall. The architect was Ryder Architecture, M&E services were provided by NG Bailey, structural engineer was URS, M&E engineer BDP, heritage advisor was HOK and cost consultant was Aecom.

Central Library is open from Monday to Thursday 9am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday 9am to 5pm.

Click image to launch gallery

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Stunning! How lucky are we in the North West with 2 wonderfully renovated Central Libraries? Lovely memories of my school days.


Agreed, both stunning buildings. Just a shame they’ll both be paid for at the sacrifice of local libraries. The perils of shamefully high PFI costs and government cuts I’m afraid.

By John Brown

Libraries closing hasn’t been my experience in the Cheshire area instead they are using their buildings for more (book based) activities.I recently enquired about a newly-published book which is not in the Cheshire catalogue and the librarian promptly ordered a copy. Use them or lose them as the saying goes.


What a waste of money – all the knowledge contained within is now available on the internet. People will go for the novelty, but is a grand central library really a necessity in the modern day? Would have been better redeveloped as office and retail – at least that way more people would see the inside of this fantastic building.

By contrarian

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