Manchester library users will soon be able to borrow books from other libraries across the region, thanks to a new initiative launching on National Libraries Day.
From Saturday 6 February, Manchester and six other Greater Manchester councils’ libraries networks will operate a shared online catalogue system - giving access to 2.8 million books and other items held within the participating library services.
People in Manchester will be able to search for books in any of the participating councils’ collections, reserving items using their existing Manchester Libraries card.
Manchester, Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport and Trafford councils are all included in the shared Library Management System (LMS) scheme, as are Blackburn with Darwen Council - with Tameside joining later this year.
The Library Management System will make it easier for customers to find information and books, creating a single library catalogue for all the different areas.
Manchester Libraries cardholders will be able to reserve stock belonging to other participating library services.
Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Rosa Battle, said: “The new Library Management System enables our customers to enjoy seamless access to books held in libraries right across Greater Manchester.
“The region’s library services have a strong record of collaboration and partnership work to bring benefits to customers and reduce costs. This new project to enhance access to collections is the next step in our long-held vision for libraries across the region to work together and learn from each other’s experience.”
Interim mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, said: “This is another example of Greater Manchester’s councils working together in partnership for the benefit of local people. This initiative will give residents across the conurbation the chance to share the wealth of literature Greater Manchester has to offer and I encourage everyone to take full advantage of it.”
Arts Council England has provided £30,000 of funding to support the project.
Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England said, ‘This initiative is an excellent example of how libraries can work together to provide better and more efficient services for their users. Greater Manchester libraries should be congratulated on this new development and I'm pleased that the Arts Council has been able to help fund it.'
The Library Management System is based on a framework contract initiated by Rochdale council in 2012.