There are 23 libraries in Manchester
, including the famous Central Library
in St Peter’s Square, as well as a team of mobile libraries.
The oldest community library still in use is Levenshulme Library in South Manchester, built in 1903. Levenshulme Library is also a Carnegie Library, having been built with money donated by the famous Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who funded the building of over 2,500 libraries across the world. Two new multi-million pound libraries have recently opened in North and East Manchester as part of a major regeneration scheme, including the eco-designed North City Library in Harpurhey.
There has been a public library service in Manchester since 1852, when the Manchester Free Library opened in the Hall of Science, Campfield, on the site of what is now the Museum of Science and Industry
. Famous figures such as Charles Dickens
and William Thackeray
attended and spoke at its inauguration. Manchester had taken advantage of powers granted by the Public Libraries and Museums Act of 1850 to become the first local authority to establish a rate-supported public lending and reference library.