What you can do at Central Library
The Media Lounge
At the new Media Lounge you can expect the latest digital technology including iMacs, PCs and creative software such as Adobe Creative Suite as well as the latest gaming consoles. Anyone can use the Media Lounge; learn new skills, be creative or meet other people into the same things as you. You can book sessions for up to three hours with media lounge staff.
Regular events such as Computer Coding for Kids, Sew & Show, Get Help with Adobe Master Suite and Manchester Indie Film Makers Group are help in the Media Lounge and are free to join.
Share your skills and learn from others, create content in a way you want. If you’re interested in sharing your skills, you can find out more about volunteering with Manchester Libraries.
There is no charge but gaming consoles are only available to library members, (under 11s must be accompanied by a responsible adult) with additional proof of ID (which will be kept by staff until you return the controller).
Sessions (min 30 minutes / max 1 hour) must be booked by a member of staff. Available games are listed in the Media Lounge. Please ask a member of staff to load your choice of game, and issue it to your library card. Under 18s can only use games certificated for your age group. Note: there are specific consoles for 18 / 16 certificate games.
At the end of your session, simply return the controller to a member of staff.
British Film Institute Archive
Enjoy highlights from the world’s greatest and most diverse collection of British film and television
We’ll be home to North West England’s British Film Institute (BFI) archive offering over 2,000 complete films and TV programmes, including more than 100 depicting life in Manchester and the north west – simply log on at a viewing station! The BFI archive is free for everyone to enjoy.
It’s the place to make new discoveries and get reacquainted with old favourites. From home movies to feature films, via documentaries and kids’ TV, many titles have rarely been seen since their original release or broadcast – if at all.
Henry Watson Music Library
Create, listen, and learn
The Henry Watson Music Library is now bigger and better than ever before. You can:
- borrow from our vast collection of printed music and books on music
- consult our fantastic range of music periodicals with historical back runs and the collected editions
- compose your own music using our computers
- DJ on our mixing desk
- use our collection of instruments to learn to play the piano or the drums, strum a tune on the guitar or jam with your friends – all for free!
- listen to our collection of CDs and DVDs in the library or at home, from our two music streaming services: Music Online and Naxos Music Library
- consult our world-renowned research collection of manuscripts and early printed music. Pre-1850 and rare material and Henry Watson’s own collection are held in the library’s strong rooms. These books are available for use in Central Library search room with at least one day’s notice. You can make an appointment to view books in the search room.
- see our unique archive manuscripts on display for the first time ever
- request orchestral or choral sets
To book an instrument or music workstation, email [email protected]
A children’s area with a difference – it’s themed on the Secret Garden by local author, Frances Hodgson Burnet. Spot the animals that pop out from the undergrowth on our digital wall display, or see yourself in the centre of our garden in the special projection area.
We have seating and cushions for you to curl up with your children and a book, and computers close at hand. All the computers across the complex can be used by children, so you can find an area that suits you. Our Archives+ area is also full of interactivity, designed to get both you and your children interested in the local area and your family history.
We have baby changing facilities, a nursing room and a cafe.
The Business and Intellectual Property Centre
The Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) can help you start, run and grow your business. From that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and developing a business, you’ll find the tools, support and advice you need:
- Free access to business and intellectual property databases and publications, including market research, company data, business news and information on intellectual property (IP),
- Access to business advisors and experts whether you’re starting up or growing your business, or
- Workshops and networking events.
Business Support and Advice:
Start Up Advice
10am – 2 pm every Wednesday, just drop in.
Free expert advice from the GM Business Growth Hub that have business experience and understand the challenges involved.
You can also chat live online with qualified business advisors.
Monthly free confidential advice with a patent attorney (suitable for inventors and innovators)
To book an appointment email [email protected]
Intellectual Property Clinic
To book an appointment email [email protected]
Other services we offer:
Our Digital Demonstrator can help you explore the benefits of high-speed connectivity and the opportunities this can bring from hands-on demonstrations of new technologies and equipment to free workshops and events for local businesses.
You can book a place on any of these free events via Eventbrite.
Join our mailing list and be the first to find out about latest news and events. Register at [email protected].
The BIPC is a partnership between us and the British Library, and is a member of the BIPC network, supported by the Intellectual Property Office, DCLG and Arts Council.
Read and study
Soft seating throughout the building means that you can curl up with a book or use your laptop in an environment that suits you.
If you like a more formal study area, there’s a Reading Room on the first floor which has seating for over 300 people.
More informal learning areas are dotted around the Library. Explore and find your favourite spot!