Levenshulme Old Library

Team and Trustees

LOL CIO is a Charity. We encourage the community to get involved in running the space as a volunteer, member or trustee. Support our small staff team to develop the building and grounds.


Volunteers offer hands-on, practical support
Members have more involvement as users helping to shape the space.
Trustees have responsibility for the CIO and building on a voluntary basis.
The Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary roles are nominated annually.
Staff manage day to day operations and events in the building.

Action groups

Building/space: Maintaining and developing the physical assets at LOL CIO (Repairs, structural changes, display, outdoors)
Programme: Shaping and delivering the offer for our local community, coordinating events, bookings and member engagement
Finance: Supporting the sustainability via funding and budget advice and support
Communications: Supporting our communications and digital profile (social media, website, news and engagement)
Resource: Oversight of staff, trustee and volunteer roles to ensure we’re an inclusive organisation offering varied ways to get involved.
Governance: Guidance and support around our policies, procedures, monitoring and evaluation

Our Trustees

Our Board of Trustees are a group of local residents. They work in diverse careers, bringing a range of skills to LOL, but all of them share a desire to provide a shared community space for Levenshulme that aims to help improve the lives of those who use it.

Laura Carroll (Chair of Trustees)

Laura is the Chair at Levensulme Old Library. In her professional life she is a voice coach and has taught in acting schools both in London and the North West for the past 15 years. This has afforded her the opportunity to work with writers, directors, movement practitioners and of course aspiring actors and artists ranging from classical to contemporary works. She is thrilled to be a part of Levenshulme Old Library’s continued development and contributions to the community


Jen Taylor (Vice Chair of Trustees)

Jen serves as the Continuous and Service Improvement Manager at the University of Manchester, where she fuels change and fosters innovative approaches to enhancing their operations. Before her current position, Jen made her mark at The Serpentine Gallery and various esteemed architectural practices in London. Armed with a degree in Fine Art and a Postgraduate qualification in Arts Management, she now channels her passion for creativity into a beloved hobby. Jen enjoys crafting ‘stuff,’ sharing her skills and knowledge with others, and occasionally putting brush to canvas.

But Jen’s commitment extends beyond her personal pursuits. She firmly believes that the arts hold transformative power, capable of enriching lives and shaping communities. As a neighbour living just around the corner from LOL, she’s dedicated to assisting the team toward the next exciting chapter in the building’s legacy.

Harriet Morgan-Shami (Trustee)

Harriet has worked in engagement and participation for over 20 years in community arts organisations, theatres, galleries, charities, museums and academia. She is an experienced creative producer particularly interested in developing projects that use stories and writing as a starting point to engage marginalised communities in high quality arts and heritage experiences.

Ali Fletcher (Trustee)

Ali has lived in Levenshulme since 2015, and fell in love with the beautiful old library building the first time she saw it! Over the last 20 years, she’s worked at arts organisations around the country, including The Crucible and Yvonne Arnaud theatres, contemporary orchestra London Sinfonietta, Art Fund and Arts Council England. She started her career in a community arts centre down south – the same place she attended art classes as a child – and knowing what an impact it had on her, she’s really excited to be supporting LOL’s ambition to be a vibrant arts space for the whole community.

Gaby Harrison (Trustee)

Gaby is an early-career heritage professional with an MA in Heritage Studies. She currently works two jobs that relate to her two favourite things: books and crafts. She has lived in Manchester since 2015 and became interested in LOL after attending the Ghosts at the Old Library event in 2022.

It is her belief that heritage is owned by the people, it is the public’s heritage. Therefore, old buildings should be responsive to the community they sit in. This is why she admires the work of LOL and wants to help it continue its good work in Levenshulme in whatever way possible.

When not at work, Gaby can be found sitting in her armchair sewing, reading or watching an old detective show on ITV3. 

Noel Connolly (Trustee)

Noel has lived in the area for over 40 years. Over the last 20 years, he has worked in Railway Programme Management throughout the UK, including delivery of Manchester Victoria Station Redevelopment and National Roll out of Railway Telecommunications. Throughout his career, he has been keen to promote an inclusive work force and preserve the wonderful buildings and history of our railways. This is a key reason for him being involved as a trustee in LOL. He would like to see the building cared for and enhanced, for the use of all in Levenshulme, and the surrounding areas.

Beth Harper (Trustee)

Beth currently works in business development for a Greater Manchester charity that supports people on probation. Prior to this, she spent nine years working within the North West’s arts and culture sector and has held roles across marketing, event production and account management.

Having moved to Levenshulme in the summer of 2023, Beth was keen to establish roots in the community and contribute to the success of the area. With a life-long passion for the arts, joining the team at LOL was an opportunity too good to miss!

Staff Team

Richard Hirst (General Manager)

Richard has lived in Levenshulme since 2010 and in that time has worked with a number of local community organisations and arts charities. 


Laura Deane (Programming Manager)

Laura has lived in Levenshulme since 2006. She is currently raising her two children here and used to bring her baby daughter to the Library every week!

She has taught 16-19 year olds in the Arts since 2006, as well as stints working in community art organisations and delivering arts workshops and exhibition curation/management. She also works as a freelance artist/photographer, selling and exhibiting work. Laura is a Director of MCRLoT and a Trustee at Islington Mill Foundation, as well as managing Levenshulme’s ‘Window Gallery’ and co-authoring Levenshulme News.

Laura began working as Building Co-ordinator in September 2019, and has worked up to managing our organisation’s programming, with an amazing staff team around her. She loves working at LOL because she wants to be involved in building an even stronger creative community in Levenshulme.


Jason Cooke (Bookings and Facilities Manager)

Jason manages the building management, coordinates users and generally mucks in with the numerous tasks our building yields. He also works for North Manchester FM, co-presents Charity Shop Classics on ALL FM (Sundays 11am) and runs Comedy Balloon, the longest running open mic comedy night in Manchester.

Active in arts & performance since 1986, he’s appeared on the same bills as John Cooper Clarke & Frank Sidebottom, has toured with Hawkwind, performed comedy in the Shetland Islands & provided occasional soundtracks for film and television.


Jen Wilkinson (Trustee and Membership Manager)
Jen joined LOL in August 2022 to help support the work of the Trustees. A local resident and community activist, she is the first point of contact with our trustees and our members.


Neil Barton (Caretaker)
Neil is our fantastic caretaker, who cleans and maintains the building. He works for us because he is dedicated to helping to keep our community building open. Neil is also a maths teacher so if he is not wielding a brush or help a theatre company with a get-in, he is probably trying to work out just how many leaves will fall on the Old Library grounds before Autumn is over.

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