Manchester Libraries will be holding the Open To Business festival: Celebrating 100 years of Manchester Libraries supporting business, Past and Present which will run between October and December.

Highlights include:

You can find details of events at the BIPC Manchester Eventbrite page.

Full listings here

This year Manchester Libraries are celebrating 100 years of the business information service. The Commercial Library opened in the Royal Exchange in October 1919 (originally suggested by Benjamin Disraeli) and was an immediate success. with nearly 70,000 readers in the first year. By 1933 over 135,000 people used it. The service finally closed in the Royal Exchange to move into Central Library in 1934, remaining open throughout the Second World War. The collection grew, and in 1955 the Commercial Library was the first library in Europe to install a Telex. It’s reputation was second to none: “It is a scandal that Britain has no national or centralised business information service…The Manchester Commercial Library…an outstanding example of efficient provision of business information… provided and paid for by the ratepayers of those two cities. The staff are courteous, efficient and rushed off their feet” Financial Times, 23/5/73

During the time that Central Library was closed for refurbishment the service continued at the temporary City Library on Deansgate. When the library re-opened in 2014 the business information service returned, rebranding as the Business & IP Centre Manchester. Now part of the national network of BIPCs in partnership with the British Library, the service works closely with the city’s entrepreneurs and small businesses, inventors and jobseekers. As well as offering access to industry-standard information resources, the BIPC delivers inspiring talks, workshops, demos and networking opportunities. It also offers one-to-one advice at Patent & IP, Accountancy, and Commercial Legal clinics. The recent “Democratising Entrepreneurship” report showed that between 2016 – 2019 the BIPC Manchester has helped to create nearly 2,000 businesses with a payback of £6.95 for every £ of public money spent.

We’d really like to hear from customers and businesses that used the service in the past. We’re creating a timeline of our history and the businesses then and now that we helped through the years, and it’s really important that we hear their stories.

If you have any stories to shares please email us at or tweet us @bipcmanchester or call us on 0161 234 1990