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Our Helpdesk
Manchester Central Library

Manchester Central Library, Ground Floor

Volunteers Required

The Society is keen to add volunteers to its Helpdesk team to maintain staffing levels during the holiday season and to cover for long-term absences when sickness occurs.

This is an opportunity for members, who live within a reasonable travel distance of Manchester Central Library, and are keen to share their research skills with visitors to the Library.

For more information read our PDF here:   Helpdesk Volunteers 
Or scroll down to read the Chairman's letter

Authentic Tradition

Helpdesk Volunteers

The Society is keen to add volunteers to its Helpdesk Team to maintain staffing levels during the holiday season and to cover for long-term absences when sickness occurs.

This, then, is an opportunity for members, who live within a reasonable travel distance of Manchester Central Library, and are keen to share their research skills with visitors to the Helpdesk in the Library who are less familiar with the processes. The Helpdesk service is open to the public every weekday between 10.30 and 15.30 except for a closed period around the Christmas and New Year season.

Initially, the successful candidates will be asked to be replacements for HD assistants currently on leave or long-term sickness, with a view to joining the team on a permanent basis when on-the-job training is complete.

The successful candidates will also be required to demonstrate:

  1. The ability to engage comfortably with the visiting public;
  2. A sound basic knowledge of family history research methods;
  3. A good understanding of basic sources such as BMD, Census and Parish Registers;
  4. An understanding of the Society’s procedures [e.g., for membership renewal];
  5. A willingness to learn.

A good general knowledge of the resources available in Central Library will also be an initial advantage, though the candidate will be expected to develop this knowledge to a good working level  during the initial training period.

The Helpdesk is the society’s prestigious and highly successful service to the public of Greater Manchester and greets visitors from all over the world. If you are interested in participating in this interesting volunteer work, please contact the Helpdesk Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Alternatively, if you are in Central Library why not speak to one of the Helpdesk Team Leaders during a daily session.

David Muil



Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society became partner members with Manchester Archives+ in March 2014. This partnership has given the Society the opportunity to expand their Family History Helpdesk services which had previously operated not only at the Society's former premises at Clayton House but also via a weekly Help Desk at City Library, Manchester.

Free Advice

The Helpdesk team currently provide guidance to members and non-members from 10.30am to 3.30pm five days a week at Manchester Central Library. Our Helpdesk which is located on the ground floor at Central Library has a dedicated Helpdesk area with a number of computers reserved for family history and local studies research only. You will find a knowledgeable team waiting to provide you with FREE family history advice and assistance, whether your ancestors came from Greater Manchester or from further afield.

Image MCL, Max Bamber


Free access is also available for such online resources as Ancestry and FindmyPast. Learn how to access these websites and other family history databases and utilise them to their optimum here. Let our volunteers show you how to use the library computers, Covergold printer/readers or just the wealth of other resources at your disposal.

Authentic Tradition

Visit us

The Helpdesk team assist about 4,000 visitors a year, many of whom are from different parts of the globe and make a visit to Central Library an essential stop on their ancestral trip of discovery. The comments left for the team are always incredibly positive from "Extremely helpful", "Appreciated the help and advice", "Friendly", and "Fabulous, so helpful!".

Many of the team are driven to volunteer by their passion for family history and their desire to help others discover more about their Manchester and Lancashire roots and provide a better understanding about family history research.

Our own space

Society members are particularly fortunate that we have a dedicated table area for their sole use in the Helpdesk area. We also offer members access to the unique Society resource collection which is located here. Members can gain access to any of the material located in this collection by speaking to a member of the Helpdesk team.

Microfiche and more

Aside from Society resources, Manchester Central Library holds an exceptionally large collection of material and therefore the Society's knowledgeable Helpdesk team is uniquely placed to help all visitors negotiate this vast array of material from digital maps, sound archives, local reference books to microfilm collections

Just ask

The Helpdesk is also a great place to stop by and visit if you have any queries about your membership or about the Society. The team will be only too pleased to help you.



The MLFHS Family History Helpdesk is located on the ground floor of Manchester Central Library at St. Peter's Square.

Our location is on the far side from the main entrance as shown below.

Helpdesk Opening Times

The Helpdesk is open every weekday, Monday to Friday, except for Bank Holidays, between 10.30am and 3.30pm. Any unexpected changes to the opening times are always shown in the banner at the top of our homepage.

Arriving by car

If you can avoid coming by car then do! There is limited disabled parking outside the Library on Peter Sstreet. There are a number of car parks in the vicinity, but parking charges are relatively high. Visitors arriving by car are advised to consider parking at a Metrolink station and completing their journey by Metrolink. More information about parking at Metrolink stations can be found on the Metrolink web site.

Public transport

Central Library is adjacent to the St. Peter's Square Metrolink station with direct services from Altrincham, East Didsbury, Eccles and Bury and simple connections from other lines. Many bus services from South Manchester stop at the Oxford Street end of Portland Street, which is a five-minute walk from the library. Other services may arrive at Shudehill Interchange or Piccadilly Bus Station. Shudehill is about 15 minutes and Piccadilly about 10 minutes walk from the library. There are Metrolink connections adjacent to both of these bus terminals.

Wheelchair access

There is full access to and within the building for wheelchair users.

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Image credit: Hilary Hartigan