CT Consults

Library Live: A heritage-rich, contemporary destination

Columned entrance to classical style building, two banners hanging between columns. People mill around

The Challenge

When Manchester’s Central Library reopened after a £50m refurbishment, the vision was for it to be not only the city’s study, but the city’s living room too, repositioned as a heritage-rich, contemporary cultural destination.

Columned entrance to classical style building, Manchester Central Library, two banners hanging between columns advertising Everything Everything - Chaos to Order.

Our Response

We helped scope a successful Arts Council England Grants for the Arts bid, then worked alongside the library team to develop creative partnerships and commission events that would test a new model of working. 

From a short-film festival to a world-premiere of a new music composition, from theatre to a space-night takeover, we tested the capacity of the Library in a 12-month event programme, including the week-long showcase, Chaos to Order (produced by Brighter Sound and curated by Everything Everything), which inspired BBC Radio’s library-week, generating additional live content and simultaneous broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, 4 and 6.

We managed the multi-channel marketing campaign, including commissioning the Library Live brand, print assets and what’s on web-blog to work in partnership with the council’s own assets.

Kickstarting a new approach

Demand to attend and hold events has continued to increase, with the Library now centre-stage in the city’s cultural mix.

Closeup of three musicians, one with guitar, one playing drums, covered in yellow light
The programme brought Central Library to life, allowing library staff to work with a wide range of artists and to make best use of the fabulous available spaces, linking the library into the key cultural life of the city.”

Neil MacInnes Strategic Lead - Libraries, Galleries and Culture

New audiences

Over the course of the programme 5,000 people attended the 10 Library Live events.

Supporting local talent

150 local artists enjoyed a high-profile platform.

New events venue

A regular venue for Manchester's festivals and a temporary home for Manchester Jewish Museum when it was closed for a major capital development.

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