Monday 7 April 2014

Manchester's Central Library Reopens

As an English Lit grad, big, old libraries have always bestowed upon me what I imagine cathedrals do to really religious folk.

Mysterious, with a perfect blend of creativity, sobriety and an air of unrivalled intelligence, the sky-scraping shelves stuffed with books, long winding corridors and ink-stained wooden desks have always been the place where magic happens for me.

The Central Library has been under restoration ever since I can remember moving to Manchester so I was really looking forward to seeing the big unveiling.

What I loved the most was the weird, eclectic fusion of old and new architecture around the building. It reminded me of the John Rylands library on Deansgate, which is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

Take the picture below, of the lower ground floor. It looks to me like part of a spaceship or something from outer space landing on a planet... (just me!?!)

This floor houses all the current exhibitions, which were interactive and thought provoking.

Below are the bookcases with massive visual appeal. I think this works perfectly in blending old, paper books to our visually demanding society. And of course, the bookshelves operate electronically. Simply press one button and the entire shelf moves left or right, which freaked me out if I'm totally honest. Imagine getting squashed between the two! Impressive though.

By far the most impressive room is The Wolfson Reading Room. These photos don't do any amount of justice to how massive this spherical place is. You could do your best library "SHH" in there and I'm pretty sure it would echo off the walls for days.

If you've got a spare hour I seriously recommend popping in - it is free, after all. It's open 9am - 8pm Mon Thurs and 9am - 5pm Friday and Saturday. More info here


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