Manchester City Council's bid for £1.6m of lottery funding to pay for a new archive at Central Library has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Archives+ project proposes an interactive exhibition area on the ground floor and in the domed Reading Room on the first floor.
The Central Library bid has been successful in the first round of a two-stage approval process. The council has been granted £72,500 to further develop its scheme.
A final bid will be submitted in April 2012 for the full £1.6m, with a decision expected in late July.
Central Library will bring together archives from different Manchester venues within the refurbished building when it reopens in 2014. Manchester City Council's archives and local studies and special collections include material from Greater Manchester County Record Office; the British Film Institute; the North West Film Archive (Manchester Metropolitan University); Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre and Education Trust (University of Manchester); Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society; Manchester Registration Service and FamilySearch.
The nationally important collection consists of items which take up 10 kilometres of shelving and features items including more than 50,000 rare books, photographs, parchments, leather-bound volumes, glass negatives and archive film. The oldest items in the collection date back to the 12th Century.
Manchester City Council is spending £55m refurbishing the Grade 2-listed Central Library and any HLF funding would be on top of this.