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“drop in for the exhibits and for a great building”

Manchester Central Library
Ranked #8 of 182 things to do in Manchester
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
362 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“drop in for the exhibits and for a great building”
Reviewed 28 June 2014

Magnificent building with an imposing reading room upstairs. Downstairs is a great archive with films available as well as books ad local info. Very interesting display of history of manchester with a nice balance between artefacts and computer display stuff. Well worth a visit.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank Jon b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1,058 reviews
675 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 443 helpful votes
“Modernized for its next 100 years”
Reviewed 8 June 2014 via mobile

I remember my student days in the library and this was the place to go study and get access to millions of books. It has just had a modern revamp but keeping its important architectural features. Brilliant revamp and this keeps libraries modern.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank CorneliusfudgeGM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stockport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“A library fit for the 21st century”
Reviewed 7 June 2014

After several years of refurbishment, the improved Central
Library recently re-opened for all to enjoy, irrespective of whether
you are interested in books or not, there is sure to be something
of interest for all the family. If the last time you visited was before
the refurbishment was begun, you will be amazed at the
transformation that has taken place since.

The entrance hall is much the same, but cleaner and brighter,
having undergone a deep clean, the lifts having been moved
and modernised, are now to the right-hand side of the library,
and built from glass, which features in much of the library
including on the stairways, giving a generally airy open feel
to things.
The most noticeable change is on the ground floor which is
now open plan with a central feature having an illuminated
moving notice board, which if you look up, you can see into
the domed reading room, although this has not radically
changed, other having been cleaned and now has many
computers, which are free to use, wi-fi is also available.

Getting back to the ground floor, activities include, film
mediatheque, with booths for private viewing of film / history
archives and provided with headsets. Visually impaired visitors
are also catered for, audio books are available in addition to
e-books, there is even a section for family history research
amongst other interactive historical features. The cafe is now
located on the same floor, providing drinks and light foods,
a minor irritation is the lack of trays, which are needed to
transport your food whilst looking for a suitable place to eat
which is tricky when the library is busy, and more tables are
needed, the food was rather expensive too, particularly if
you are taking the the family.

The basement, which was once home to the lovely Library
Theatre, and is a shame that this intimate little theatre was
moved, this space is now being used for book storage, and
is one of the down sides to new library. Quite a surprise was
the huge general library, which is located in the basement,
and was excavated under the library walk and beneath the
Town Hall extension, incorporating an area for parents to
read to young children and has comfortable soft seating.

With the exception of the ground floor and basement,
elsewhere in the library there have been fewer changes,
apart from a general cleaning up with computers being
provided on all floors, and an excellent place to study,
but with a little more besides. If you haven't visited the
new library yet, it's worth a look, and bring the children,
they will be sure to find something of interest in what must
now be one of the finest libraries in in Britain, and marries
successfully, the old with the new.

Visited April 2014
Thank Davidfarrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
18 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Absolutely Beautiful”
Reviewed 1 June 2014

This is an absolutely beautiful building, inside and out. I'd recommend visiting it if you're in the area even if you don't require to use it as a library. It's a stunning building to spend some time reading or just people watching. The cafe though I found was quite pricey.

Visited May 2014
Thank Amanda T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
136 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“Very disappointing”
Reviewed 31 May 2014

Tightwads well remember Manchester Central Library from our student days. He a studious student and myself on the lookout to socialise. In those days there were plenty of staff. It was good to see the windows gleaming and the place generally cleaned up. Noticed that the main hall appeared to have kept the same desks. We realise that times have changed and the internet provides more. Books now are hidden in sections and access gained by pressing buttons to open the doors. We enjoyed going to the top of the building in the lift and for the first time being able to see close the dome.
Extremely disappointing to see the total waste of space in the basement where the Library theatre was. Whose idea we wondered was it to move the comfortable accessible theatre ? We realised just how much space there is and easy to create a bigger theatre. We both felt very annoyed by this especially as we are Manchester citizens paying towards the upkeep of Manchester.. Don't tell me with all the talent in Manchester that someone with common sense could not have made better use of the basement to enlarge the theatre. A friend told me that the so called new Library theatre is awful.

Visited May 2014
3 Thank Tightwads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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