Donation for Central Library re-vamp will make it ‘even better than originally anticipated’ – Manchester councillor

By John McDougall

The generous donation of nearly £500,000 will greatly aid Manchester Central Library’s £48million transformation, according to a prominent council official.   

Neil MacInnes, head of Libraries and Archives at Manchester City Council, reacted positively to news that the library will benefit from a £473,000 donation from the Wolfson Foundation.

With the iconic St Peter’s Square building set to reopen in 2014, Mr MacInnes feels the money pledged will make all the difference – and hopes more benefactors will come.

“We are continuing to fundraise to help provide enhanced facilities and services in other key parts of the building to create a margin of excellence,” he said. 

“This major award will enable us to have better facilities in the library’s reading room and media lounge than we had originally anticipated.

“The Wolfson Foundation are hoping other funders might join them in supporting high quality initiatives at public libraries at a time of acute funding pressure.”

Manchester – which was closed for refurbishment in 2011 – and Birmingham are the two libraries to benefit from the Wolfson Foundation’s award.   

The latest funding builds upon the £1.55million grant the library – which originally opened in 1934 – received last September from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

With the refurbishments – which will renovate the Great Hall Reading Room and Media Lounge – Mr MacInnes hopes it will make Manchester a hub for the North West’s library services.

“Manchester is pioneering the development of new ways in which library, information and archive services are delivered,” he said.

“This world class venue will support the digital learning demands of the 21st Century and provide much needed inspiration.

“The benefits of this exemplar transformation project to the city, region, the local economy and most importantly a wide range of people and communities, are immense.”

The library is anticipated to attract up to two million visitors from the North West and beyond when it is re-launched. 

Picture courtesy of Pimlico Badger, with thanks.

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