Manchester City Council has received nearly £500,000 from a charitable foundation to help finish the refurbishment of Central Library.
Central Library is currently undergoing a £48m refurbishment. The £473,000 funding from the Wolfson Foundation will be used to improve facilities and support the refurbishment of the Great Hall Reading Room and the Media Lounge.
Cllr Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: "We are extremely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for this additional funding. It is a tremendous boost for the landmark Central Library transformation project and reflects its national flagship status. It will enhance the work that we are already undertaking and ensure that we can provide the gold standard for what is on offer in our iconic library when it is relaunched in early 2014.
"Central Library is an asset for all the people of Manchester and when it re-opens it will be a truly world-class, modern library fit for the 21st century which will benefit residents and communities for generations to come. Its transformation will provide a fantastic cultural venue which attracts up to 2 million regional, national and international visitors a year."
The funds have been awarded to the Manchester Central Library Development Trust, a new independent charity established specifically to raise funds to provide enhanced facilities, services and resources for Central Library, additional to the council's ongoing commitment. The Trust's current priority is raising additional funds for the Library's transformation, which includes building enhancements and support for new activities being developed to coincide with its relaunch.
Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: "Public libraries continue to play a crucial role in British society. In backing these two excellent projects, we hope that other funders might join us in supporting high quality initiatives at public libraries at a time of acute funding pressure for these great institutions. These projects help to show the future shape of public libraries at a time of debate about their future role."
The Wolfson Foundation was established in 1955 and promotes excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health, education and the arts & humanities. All funding is based on expert peer review.