The revamp is described as a 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'
A £165m refurbishment plan for key civic buildings and spaces in Manchester city centre has been agreed.
The city's town hall complex, Central Library and St Peter's Square will all benefit from the programme, scheduled to start this year and finish in 2014.
Plans include a new customer service centre and a new library, which it is proposed to call City Library.
The Grade II-listed Central Library will be also be restored and a new home found for its theatre.
The Archive Reading Room will bring together Greater Manchester County Records Office, Manchester Archives and Local Studies and other partners to provide improved public access to Manchester's archive heritage.
Other planned elements include a 'Mediatheque' facility from the British Film Institute and the collections of the North West Film Archive.
This will be a series of state-of-the-art spaces, including a cinema and computer suite, where residents will be able to browse and view a range of Manchester-related films and television programmes.
The Library Theatre, currently in the basement of the Central Library, is seen as having outgrown its present location and a search for a new home is being carried out.
A design competition will be launched to remodel St Peter's Square. Part of the redevelopment of the square will see the creation of an appropriate, contemporary commemoration of the 1819 Peterloo massacre.
Councillor Bernard Priest, Executive Member for Finance and Human Resources, said: "Manchester has arguably the finest civic complex of any British city outside London.
"This refurbishment programme is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to upgrade the services offered from these buildings and radically improve the experience of people using them.
"Rather than piecemeal refurbishment, this comprehensive approach will enable us to deliver dramatic improvements for the benefit of Manchester residents. It will also create jobs during a period of economic recession."