Chetham’s Library is the oldest public reference library in the English speaking world, but have you ever wondered how such a well aged institution sustains itself in a modern climate? Join the Chetham’s Library team for a self guided tour behind the scenes of this medieval gem in the heart of Manchester, as part of the ‘Living Library’ experience. Gain access to areas typically closed to the public as well as having the chance to handle rare and unique items from their collection. The day is a fascinating insight into the conservation of the building, the amount of work put into book care and repair and the readers and research projects undertaken in the library from the past to present day. You can wander through the rooms in your own time taking in the historic architecture, and of course the libraries centuries old contents which will be available for visitors to read in their own time. The Library contains more than 100,000 volumes of printed books as well as rare manuscripts, deeds and paintings. A lot of the objects within the library also have their own stories, histories and folklore such as the infamous John Dee’s desk.
An ideal Christmas gift experience for any book, history or culture fiend, be sure to book in advance as tickets are likely to sell out quickly based on the popularity of the library’s currently running ‘Unscripted‘ events. Timed tickets are available at 11am/1pm/2pm/3pm, allowing a steady flow of visitors so that you can explore the library and its contents without feeling like part of a large crowd. Enjoy the intimate atmosphere in the small medieval corridors and staircases leading through the rooms drenched in history, without the background noise of too many visitors. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the people dedicated to keeping the library relevant in a city which is continually changing around it.