Libraries in Manchester

Polly Checkland Harding

Bibliophiles, rejoice: we have rounded up the best libraries in Manchester for your perusal. Manchester has long been a place of learning – it is home to Britain’s oldest public library, after all. We thought it high time to celebrate the best libraries in Manchester, big and small, new and old.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Manchester Central Library

    Manchester Central Library
    Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net). [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Manchester Central Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5PD - Visit now

    Central Library re-opened in 2014 after a £48m restoration, bigger and brighter, and the new home of the city’s archives and local history collections.

  • 2. The John Rylands Library

    The historic Reading Room in John Rylands Library
    Image courtesy of John Rylands Library.

    The John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3EH - Visit now

    John Rylands Library houses a collection of rare books that spans five millennia – including an original Gutenberg Bible – in a neo-Gothic building that took nine years to build.

  • 3. The Portico Library

    The Portico Library, Mosley Street in Manchester
    Creative Tourist

    The Portico Library, 57 Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 3HY - Visit now

    The Portico Library opened in 1806, and remains a well-appointed subscription library today. Go for tea and cake, exhibitions and events beneath its beautiful glass dome.

  • 4. Chetham’s Library

    Chetham’s Library in Long Millgate in Manchester

    Chetham’s Library, Long Millgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 1SB - Visit now

    Chetham’s Library is the oldest free public reference library in Britain. Visitors can browse beautiful medieval shelving and an internationally rated collection of books.

  • 5. Working Class Movement Library

    Richard Rogerson [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, Greater Manchester, M5 4WX - Visit now

    The Working Class Movement Library houses the personal collection of labour historians Ruth and Edmund Frow, a treasure trove of material and stories dating back to the 1760s.

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