Festival of Libraries 2022

  • DATE

    15-19 June 2022

  • TIME

    9:00 am to 11:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome

    Young people














    Manchester City of Literature

Manchester UNESCO City of Literature’s  Festival of Libraries, the county-wide celebration of Greater Manchester’s 133 libraries, returns, after a successful debut last year, with a full live programme of events for all running from Wednesday 15th to Sunday 19th June, 2022.

The Festival, which is supported by Arts Council England, once again features a varied and vibrant programme that highlights the library network’s full offer, with events taking in wellbeing, activism, culture and creativity, digital and information, and of course reading.

Manchester changed the game in 2021 by investing in libraries as an essential service, and the, now annual, Festival of Libraries aims to build upon this commitment with a yearly celebration showcasing digital art commissions, artist residencies, dance, performance, panel talks and walking tours.

In 2022, mass participation events will be a huge part of the Festival; the ‘Look for a Book’ treasure hunt adventure competition will see young people searching for books in every borough of Greater Manchester to win the book and a chance to meet the author, in addition, the ‘Shoebox Libraries’ project will encourage anyone, anywhere to create their own dream library out of materials they can find at home.

The ‘Inspired by’ strand of events, that saw contributions from the likes of Elbow’s Guy Garvey and BBC 6 Music’s Stuart Maconie last year, is back with an incredible line-up including much-loved actress and activist, Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street, Dr Who), as well as modern furniture restorer, eco-designer and TV presenter, Jay Blades (The Repair Shop, Money For Nothing), with more to be announced.

In 2021 there were 80 free events with more than 50 artists involved, taking place in all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.  Post Festival research proved that 96% of attendees enjoyed the events, 78% gained new knowledge or skills, 44% said that it improved their wellbeing, 31% said it changed their view of libraries, while 39%  stated that they will visit their library more often. We can’t wait to do it all again this summer!

The Festival of Libraries programme this year will take place in internationally renowned institutions from Manchester’s rich tapestry of heritage libraries, including Central Library, with its impressive status as the busiest public library in the country, in addition to Chetham’s, The Portico, and John Ryland’s. Also featured will be Greater Manchester’s equally important and vital local libraries that deliver much needed support and services to their communities.

Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, said: “I am proud to say that Manchester has continued to invest in our libraries over the last year, and we can see that in the brand new Children’s Library now open at Central Library plus improvements at Withington, Forum, Avenue and Hulme High Street libraries too. I’m so pleased that Manchester will be once more celebrating how vital libraries are with the Festival of Libraries in 2022. Our libraries provide vital free access to information, learning opportunities and reading for pleasure for all in Manchester. They are creative, community hubs that are vital to building resilient and cohesive neighbourhoods.”

Library partners include: Archives+, Central Library, Chetham’s Library, John Rylands Library, Manchester Poetry Library, NHS Libraries, The Portico, Working Class Movement Library, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Institute Cervantes Library  and Greater Manchester libraries (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan).

Julie Hesmondhalgh, Festival of Libraries speaker said: “As a long-time fan of Manchester City of Literature, I’m thrilled to be part of their celebration of libraries this year. I was fortunate enough to grow up with the magnificent Accrington Library, which famously changed Jeanette Winterson’s life, practically on my doorstep, as well as the tiny, less grand, but equally magical, church library even closer to home.  I have such fond memories of choosing weekly books from the dedicated children’s section of both, and I know that I owe so much of my lifelong love of reading to those halls of knowledge.”

Manchester City of Literature is seeking interest from local businesses to support the Festival of Libraries 2022. There are a range of packages available to help the festival further reach schools and communities, head to our donate page for more information, or if you’re an individual who would like to support the festival, you can find out how best to do so here.


Festival of Libraries 2022 Highlights


Welcome to the Festival of Libraries from Lemn Sissay