The John Rylands Library

The John Rylands Library
150 Deansgate
Greater Manchester
M3 3EH



Reader enquiries

Visitor and event information


Visitor and Event enquiries

0161 306 0555


0161 834 5574

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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The John Rylands Library merged with Manchester University Library in 1972 to form the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive

Opening hours

For visitors:
Mon 12.00-17.00
Tues-Sat 10.00-17.00
Sun 12.00-17.00

The library is closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and between Christmas and New Year.

Admission charges

The John Rylands Library is a public library, open to everyone. Entry is free.

Additional info

The Library's collections are open to Readers aged 18 and over. However, to look at special material, a letter of reference is required.

The special collections and Manchester Medical Society Library are Designated Collections of national importance.

The special collections represent an outstanding national and regional resource, combining material of international significance with collections directly relevant to the history and wider impact of Manchester and the North West. The Manchester Medical Society Library contains medical printed books dating between c. 1800-1950, associated with the Manchester Medical Society.

Collection details

Social History, Literature, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Methodist Archives and Research Centre
  • Labour History Archive and Study Centre
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Loving Illumination - Paintings of Light

  • 4 December 2014 — 29 March 2015 *on now

In this exhibition artist Judith Hurst explores the interconnectivity of science, maths, religion and art.

Working on vellum, and using inlays of exotic wood and precious metals, Judith interprets the patterns she sees in the fabric of our universe – from microscopic molecular structures to the vastness of space – to produce richly decorated ‘paintings of light’.

Suitable for


Later-Day Saints

  • 23 January — 28 June 2015 *on now

Our ancestors often relied on their beliefs to make sense of their world - is there an equivalent in our modern world of celebrity and material culture?

Later-Day Saints brings the medieval cult of saints into the contemporary world, offering a snapshot of modern life with a hint of humour.

Local artist Alan Birch draws inspiration from objects of popular fascination and obsession, including Kindles, pit bulls and the Olympic torch, to present a print series of contemporary saints.

Suitable for


The weather and its moods

  • 12 March — 28 June 2015

The weather is fascinating. We can hardly avoid talking about it and how it makes us feel.

This exhibition uses items from the Library’s collections to explore descriptions, reflections, memories and stories based on people’s experiences of the weather.

Weather represents change - we invite visitors to question their own relationship with the weather.

Suitable for


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Printing Press Demonstration

  • 5 March 2015

Drop in and see our printing press in action. Try your hand at making your own print.

Suitable for


Wonder Woman Tour

  • 7 March 2015 3-4pm
  • 14 March 2015 3-4pm
  • 21 March 2015 3-4pm
  • 28 March 2015 2-3pm
  • 29 March 2015 3-4pm

Join us on a tour of the Library exploring the role that Enriqueta Rylands and other women have played in shaping our library and the history of Manchester.

Suitable for


Wonder Women: Vanishing for the Vote

  • 12 March 2015 5:30-7pm

Vanishing for the Vote: the suffragette census boycott in Manchester and beyond.

On census night 1911, Manchester boasted the largest mass evasion outside London. Why? And what role was played by the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage Manchester branch?

Suitable for


Unusual Views: Library tours for photographers

  • 15 March 2015 11am-12pm
  • 19 April 2015 11am-12pm

Take the opportunity to photograph the Library building from spectacular viewpoints not normally open to the public!

Suitable for


Third Thursday Late: An evening of cabaret with First Draft

  • 19 March 2015 7-9:30pm

The John Rylands Library will be joining forces with First Draft to host a very special night of cabaret inspired by some of our most intriguing and often hidden treasures. Expect laughter, insight and lots and lots of applause!

Suitable for


Mark-making and Narrative. A printmaking workshop by Tony Phillips

  • 24 March 2015 1-4:30pm
  • 18 May 2015 1-4:30pm

The artist will be conducting a printmaking workshop based on some of the processes used in his etching sequences.

The session is an introduction to the dry-point technique , and will focus on mark-making, composition, and ways of developing a narrative.

Beginners are welcome. Please bring an apron or wear old clothes!

Suitable for


Whimsical Wednesday: Lino printing

  • 25 March 2015 11am-2pm

Try your hand at one of the simplest printing techniques. Be inspired by our collections or create your own unique print to take home and treasure.

Suitable for


She Choir

  • 28 March 2015 3-4pm

Come and hear The Historic Reading Room enlivened by female voices as we celebrate the Wonder Women festival.

She Choir are a non-auditioned, female only choir based in Manchester. They perform self-arranged songs, some you might have heard of, some you might not have.

They have performed in The Events, a Home production, for the Wonderstruck event at Manchester Museum and will be performing at Ladies’ Room later in the month

Suitable for


Wonder Women Collection Encounter

  • 29 March 2015 1-4pm

Discover fascinating stories and the women behind them using the Library's collections and archives.

Suitable for


Interpreting Papyrus

  • 15 April 2015 12-1pm

Suitable for


Whimsical Wednesday: Personal Patterns

  • 29 April 2015 11am-2pm

In this workshop, we will learn how to think with repetition to create patterns using symbols, punctuations, letters, numbers...anything you wish!

Suitable for


Curating Magic

  • 6 May 2015 12-1pm

This monthly series of lunchtime talks introduces the new John Rylands Research Institute and its vibrant research portfolio. Each informal, accessible seminar showcases cutting-edge research on documents from the last 3,000 years, illustrating how the Library's world-class collections are shaping knowledge in fields from papyrus to photography, theology to the occult.

Speakers: Dr Sasha Handley, Lecturer in Early Modern Cultural History, The University of Manchester Dr Jenny Spinks, Lecturer in Early Modern History, The University of Manchester

Suitable for


Merchants of Print: Curator tour

  • 9 May 2015 2-3pm

Join the curators to discover more about Aldus Manutius, the journeys his books have taken over 500 years and how the books found their final home at The John Rylands Library.

There will be an opportunity to see other books from this amazing collection that didn’t make it into the exhibition.

Suitable for


Whimsical Wednesday: Decoupage

  • 27 May 2015 11am-2pm

Join us for a spot of decoupage. Use delightful images from our collections to decorate a special souvenir box to take home.

Suitable for


Encountering Italy

  • 3 June 2015 12-1pm

This monthly series of lunchtime talks introduces the new John Rylands Research Institute and its vibrant research portfolio. Each informal, accessible seminar showcases cutting-edge research on documents from the last 3,000 years, illustrating how the Library's world-class collections are shaping knowledge in fields from papyrus to photography, theology to the occult.

Speakers: Dr Guyda Armstrong, Senior Lecturer in Italian, The University of Manchester Caroline Checkley-Scott, Collection Care Manager, The University of Manchester Library Anne-Marie Stead, Italian Studies, The University of Manchester

Suitable for


Whimsical Wednesday: Marbling workshop

  • 24 June 2015 11am-2pm

Many of the Library's books are adorned with beautiful marbled papers.

Join us to have a go at this ancient art form and take home what you make.

Suitable for