University of Manchester Library

Visitor''s address: 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH

United Kingdom

E-mail address:
Opening hours:

John Rylands Library Reading Room: Monday-Wednesday, Friday- Saturday 10.00-17.00, Thursday 10.00-19.00.

Main Library Reading Room: Monday-Friday, 09.30-12.30, 13.30-16.30

For further information see

Main Library Reading Room: Monday-Friday, 09.30-12.30, 13.30-16.30.

Closing dates:

Easter, Christmas to New year, Bank holidays


There are two Special Collections Reading Rooms. One is located at The John Rylands Library on Deansgate in the city centre. The other is at the Main Library on the Oxford Road campus.

Access conditions: Accessible to the public
Access information:

Readers ticket required. Proof of identity required

We offer a closed-access reader service which means that items must be pre-ordered. They are then retrieved by staff and brought to your desk in the Reading Room.

Disabled access: Facilities for disabled people are available
Ordering documents in advance:

It is essential to contact us in advance of any visit. We can then retrieve the materials you want before you arrive. This is particularly important on your first visit.

Conservation laboratory: Conservation laboratory available
Refreshment area:

Enriqueta's serves coffee, tea and a selection of cakes. Opening hours Wednesday to Saturday: 10am to 4.30pm Sunday: 12noon to 4.30pm

Archival and other holdings:

The University of Manchester Library holds one of the finest collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives in the world. Both The John Rylands Library and Victoria University of Manchester Library had built up outstanding Special Collections. After their merger in 1972, these collections were concentrated in the magnificent Deansgate Building of The John Rylands Library, in the centre of Manchester. The printed collections encompass almost all the landmarks of printing through five centuries: magnificent illustrated books, examples of fine printing, landmark works in typography, key historical texts and exquisite bookbindings. We hold over 4,000 incunables, including the largest collection of Aldines in the world and the second largest collection of works printed by Caxton. The collections cover a wide range of subjects: theology and philosophy; literature, drama and music; art and archaeology; science and medicine; economic, social, political and military history; travel and exploration. The vast majority of the Special Collections printed books are recorded in our online printed-book catalogue. The Library's manuscript collections cover more than fifty languages, including all the major European and Middle Eastern languages, and numerous Far Eastern ones. They span five millennia, and are written on virtually every medium ever employed. The subject range is vast, encompassing literary, historical, antiquarian, genealogical, biblical, devotional, ritualistic, medical, scientific, legal and administrative texts. The Library holds several hundred archives of companies, business associations, trade unions, charities, social organizations and religious institutions, as well as landed families. Particular strengths include Nonconformist archives (especially of Methodism); archives of recent and contemporary literature and drama; the archives of the University of Manchester; and the papers of individual scientists and academics. Most Special Collections are held at The John Rylands Library. Other collections are held at the Main Library on the Oxford Road campus. These include the archives of the University of Manchester, Christian Brethren Archives, many scientific and medical archives, and post-1800 medical books.

Other information
Related resource:
James Phillips Kay-Shuttleworth – pioneering educational reformer

Archives Hub Feature

The Editorial Correspondence of C.P. Scott in the Guardian archive

Archives Hub Feature

A Spring in Your Step

Archives Hub Feature

Bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens

Archives Hub feature

Charles Wesley (1707-88)

Archives Hub feature

Robert Donat

Archives Hub feature

Type of archive:

University and research archives

Last update: 30.10.2019
Archival Material