Delayed by Covid ... but now Manchester's poetry library has opened its doors

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Manchester Poetry Library has opened its doors at last. Its opening, which finally took place last month, was delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown. The north-west’s first poetry library is at Manchester Metropolitan University, and is open to all. The library has over 10,000 books and recordings, offers an extensive range of poetry in the many languages spoken in Manchester, and a section dedicated to children’s poetry.

Its core collection is made up of late 19th, 20th and 21st century poetry in English from around the world. It will also stock journals, pamphlets, books, collections, anthologies, audio recordings, films, big press, little press, poetry for children, and poetry in translation. And it will also run events, reading groups, workshops, and performances.

The library’s director, Becky Swain, told the online Mancunian Matters: “We are the first poetry library to be supported by a university, which means we can harness lots of expertise as Manchester Writing School here at Manchester Met is home to poets such as Carol Ann Duffy, Malika Booker and Helen Mort, and has a fantastic reputation.

“There has been a reduction in arts funding, and creativity and imagination are not being given the esteem they need - so the fact the university has committed to it is hugely positive.”

She added: “A library is never finished and we’re really open to people’s suggestions – anyone can have an influence on the poetry library. We had someone come in and ask if we had any Arabic poetry and we were able to say we’re working with a poet to develop this aspect of the collection. Half of the adults in Manchester are multilingual so we wanted to respond to that.”



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