Manchester Libraries Festival

Libraries are havens for the free discussion of ideas. They are social places for community debate and inclusive spaces that allow the learning of skills. Libraries enhance civic identity, building a city’s resilience and encouraging sustainable urban development. There are 315000 public libraries around the world, 73% in developing countries.

Manchester Libraries Festival will celebrate these institutions and debate their role in the future city. How will libraries change and develop? What role can libraries play in enhancing social justice, and resisting censorship? How will libraries raise literacy and ensure lifelong learning for all?

This festival allows citizens to celebrate the key role that libraries play in civic life. The festival encourages children, young people, immigrant communities and vulnerable groups to use their libraries creatively. Partner libraries around the city will host performances, exhibitions, concerts, art, film, writing classes, and public debates. Writers will be commissioned to respond to literary archives.

Our partnership with the British Council enables links to libraries in India, Kenya, Mexico, Turkey and Pakistan. We partner with them , creating joint events, reading activities, commissioned writing and exhibitions. The festival will partner with other UCCN Cities of Literature, the Independent Libraries Association, and Next Library. We will partner with Amnesty International and UK PEN to consider human rights. We will partner with City in the Community to increase educational engagement for those aged 5-11.