I’m always a big fan of getting out and about around the city, and with the new Manchester BookBenches that are in situ across the city as part of the Read Manchester project from the literacy trust I knew we would have to take a look.
I had a quick look at the map and decided that, as the weather was forecast to be less than great, we would drive around to the ones that are on the outskirts of the city centre. We started in the East of the city and headed to the library in Gorton, then onto Beswick library, across to the National Cycling Centre before heading to the North of the city to Newton Heath (although the library was closed when we visisited so we didn’t see that bench) and then to Harpurhey. We then decided to head across to the South to Hulme where we knew we could spot five benches in one location as well as get a bite to eat for lunch before heading home.
There are 58 benches in total across the city. A good number are in the city centre and many more occupy spaces on the outskirts of the city too. We managed to see ten in total today, and had we not been heading home for swimming lessons we would have found another four or so on the way home.
The benches have been designed by various groups and community ventures and really are fantastic. Mr D and Miss E had great fun running up to each bench and spotting the various things on them. Both Damian and I were pleasently surprised by the libraries. I am a frequent visitor to two of the libraries in Stockport and the staff are always so friendly and know the children well. We don’t ever have cause to visit other libraries across the city but those within Manchester City Council really are superb. The buildings were bright, fresh and modern and seemed to be well stocked and equipped with plenty of staff on hand as well as access to computers etc.
We had a great time and ended the hunt at Z-arts in Hulme. I’ve heard a lot about Z-Arts but haven’t had opportunity to stop by yet. We went in and in the entrance we spotted the ‘We are All Born Free’ bench. This one is all about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it’s one that is linked to a lovely book that illustrates the Declaration and is an accessibly introduction for children.
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it's a trip into Manchester today. we are off to start the BookBench Trail. first stop is Hulme. I want to see this We Are All Born Free bench at Z-arts. the Declaration of Human Rights seems even more important then ever. So we are going to spot a few and I'll share in my stories today and pop a blog post up when I get chance this weekend.
We then stopped for an excellent lunch in the cafe (and of course treated ourselves to a cake). The children played for a little time before we headed home.
I’m planning to do the city centre benches early next week so I’ll share some more pictures of those too.
If you want to read more about the BookBenches that are across Manchester you can do so here. The benches are in place until September.