The John Rylands Library

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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, Historic house or home, Museum

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 daily, 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.
Banner for the Off Beat exhibition at The John Rylands Library

Off Beat: Jeff Nuttall and the International Underground

  • 8 September 2016 — 5 March 2017 *on now

Painter, poet, actor and sculptor, a man once described as ‘the only all-round genius most of us are likely to meet’, Jeff Nuttall was one of the few people in the early 1960s to publish William S. Burroughs’ most experimental writing.

From illustrated letters to a rare Burroughs’ text, ‘Off Beat: Jeff Nuttall and the International Underground’ reveals how Nuttall led the charge of the British counterculture with a network of artists and writers whose work was shared worldwide via the low-fi, self-published magazines of the “mimeograph revolution”.

Please note: because of the adult nature of the content in this exhibition, it is not suitable for children.

Share your experience: #jrloffbeat @TheJohnRylands

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children


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.
Off-Beat On-Screen

Off-Beat/On-Screen: Two Beat Films and Flim Nite Performances

  • 17 November 2016 6:30-8:30pm

Celebrate the unexpected and the bizarre with our screening of the two great Beat Poet films, Pull My Daisy and Wholly Communion. Tapping into the free and wild spirit of the Beat Generation, these films are fun, strange and profound.

The equally off-kilter Flim Nite will be joining us with their unpredictable and unmissable performances inspired by the films.

This is a night to enjoy the off-beat with the Beat generation themselves up on the silver screen and some of Manchester’s most exciting contemporary performers alongside them.

Free entry, limited places so booking is essential.
For more information, or to book, call 0161 306 0555.

Please note: due to adult content this event is not suitable for under 16’s.

Suitable for

  • 18+


Collections Encounter

Collections Encounter: Experimentations of the Counter-Culture

  • 18 November 2016 2-3pm

An artistic and social revolution happened in the 1960s - a backlash against the authority of mainstream ‘square’ culture.

Experimentation in art and poetry exploded as artists began to rip up the rule book. During this collections encounter you will see some of these cutting edge works up close.

Learn more about how Allen Ginsberg, Delia Derbyshire, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Jeff Nuttall re-invented poetry and music.

Free entry, no booking required.

Please note: due to adult content, this event is not suitable for under 16's.

Suitable for

  • 18+


Exposing the Off-Beat

Exposing the Off-Beat: A Curator Tour

  • 26 November 2016 11-11:45am

The Beat Poets were influential in the establishment-shattering 1960s counter-culture and in exploding the boundaries of poetry.

Our Beat Poets experts, Douglas Field and Jay Jones, will be sharing their knowledge and answering your questions as they take you on a bespoke tour of the Off-Beat exhibition.

Free entry, limited places so booking is essential.
For more information, or to book, call 0161 306 0555.

Please note: due to adult content, this event is not suitable for under 16's.

Suitable for

  • 18+


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.