Celebrate your love of libraries with brand new festival

Date published: 04 June 2021

Manchester City of Literature’s inaugural Festival of Libraries, supported by Arts Council England, is due to take place from Wednesday 9 to Sunday, June 13, 2021.

The Festival is a brand-new county-wide celebration of Greater Manchester’s 133 libraries, of which Oldham make up 12.

A vibrant programme that highlights the Greater Manchester library network’s full offer, across wellbeing, culture and creativity, digital and information, and, of course, reading will be on offer.

With libraries across GM, including Oldham, hosting a series of events to mark the occasion – evidencing the key role they play in civic life.

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated just how important Oldham’s Libraries are to residents, and this extends past the physical buildings.

Since March 2020, Oldham Libraries have really got creative when trying to engage with residents who have at times been unable to visit in person due to the government restrictions in place.

This has included the following:

Keeping parents in a routine with their little ones with weekly Facebook Live Rhymetime sessions

Facebook Live author events with the likes of Milly Johnson and Gill Sims joining library staff to discuss their upcoming books and answer questions from eager fans

Learning circles; teaching people conversational English have continued online

Furthermore, the amount of digital ebooks and magazine available to residents has been massively extended with 53,060 ebooks and 31,954 magazines being downloaded.

Library staff have been on hand to help people fill in the Census and assist parents applying for their child’s place at primary or secondary school.

Plus, the regular monthly digital newsletter, ‘Love Libraries’ continues to provide activities, entertainment and vital information regarding Coronavirus to ensure residents continue to keep safe.

Oldham, Northmoor and Chadderton Libraries have been granted Library of Sanctuary status by the City of Sanctuary charity.

These libraries are now recognized for their role in creating a welcoming environment for all, and have fully trained staff and a host of resources and events to aid refugees and newcomers to the UK.

Councillor Shaid Mushtaq, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “I am so proud to have Oldham’s Libraries as part of my portfolio.

“The work they have done throughout the pandemic has been invaluable to Oldham residents.

“They have shown great versatility in these circumstances and it’s right that we should take the time to celebrate them and all that they have achieved during the challenging time we have all faced.”

Events for the Festival include Make Play Code, Writing for wellbeing workshop and a storywalk.

To keep up to date with news and special events from the Festival of Libraries, people can subscribe to their dedicated newsletter or follow the festival on social media, using #FestivalofLibraries. 

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