North City Library, Harpurhey

Partner project

International Mother Language Day 2018-2020

North City Library is a Creative Space within Manchester Libraries where we offer culture and live arts performances on the doorstep for North Manchester residents.

2018 was our first International Mother Language Day and it was a great opportunity to learn about the wonderful languages and cultures spoken in Harpurhey and North Manchester. We enjoyed a full day of fun themed around food. Creative confidence coach Kitty created a wonderful performance song and dance with children all about their favourite foods. Multilingual library staff held a Portuguese/English version of the Baby Goz picturebook, children played Snap in Spanish, and using StoryCubes we created our Once Upon A Time… story in Dutch, English, Mandarin, Twi (Ghanaian) and Czech. The afternoon saw us grooving down as the amazing Tomas led children in a Portuguese drumming workshop. Dance consultant Dr Gaya taught us lively traditional dances with Hindi and Tamil languages with everyone joining in. There were language games, interactive maps of the world and activity stalls from Multilingual Manchester and the University of Manchester and lots more from our other partners. It was a terrific day – full of energy and enthusiasm for learning and sharing. Over 100 children and adults joined in the energetically tongue-twisting fun!

2019 was another fun-filled day of food and poetry. Kitty’s performances and the drumming workshop were back and we also had African Calypso music to dance along to with Papa Sam. There were games, crafts and stories in multiple languages and language tasters in Greek and other languages. Children could make a Fruit Salad Haiku poem by making and describing the taste of lovely fruit kebabs plus we decorated the Library with all our lovely YUMMY poetry, recipes and words!



In 2020 we had a packed programme. The Library space looked amazing, decorated with world maps, artwork and bunting colourfully illustrating this year’s theme of HOME. The Story Tent was all lit up with fairy lights ready for our dual language story session in Arabic and English. University of Manchester’s Multilingual Manchester came along with games and fun activities for everyone. The Manchester Mushaira poetry house was set up for people to write and record their poetry, alongside the bright and colourful dens which children were able to create. They had plenty of poems to contribute to the Mushaira performance at Longsight later in the evening. The best one was the youngest – a 3 year old poet whose poem “Happy, Open, Mummy, Eat” won our hearts!

The brilliant Maria and George from the Hellenic School of Manchester brought their lovely Ancient Greek and modern Greek puzzles, language tips, games and wonderful dancing. Talk English from Manchester Adult Education came along with Kate Lloyd and many of the Abraham Moss Library group to promote ESOL conversation and events. Several people sat down to enjoy the film of the Made In Manchester multilingual poem. We had delicious nibbles and drinks giving us global flavours from across the planet. Best of all was the Language of Indian Rhythm with Hamit, creating hypnotic beats and rhythm for Kanchan’s wonderful Kathak dance moves.

In 2020 attendees of our monthly Library of Sanctuary events joined the celebrations for International Mother Language Day. See what they enjoyed during these events!


Creative confidence coach Kitty created a wonderful performance song and dance with children all about their favourite foods

North City Library