Manchester has some of the oldest and most beautiful libraries in the world.

John Rylands Library

This striking gothic building took ten years to build and is one of Manchester’s best loved buildings. The Library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband John Rylands and opened in 1900. It is now part of the University of Manchester.

Portico Library

Did you know that Peter Roget began to write his famous thesaurus at the Portico Library? He was the Library’s first Secretary when it was founded in 1806. The library was created as a result of a meeting of Manchester businessmen which resolved to found an "institute uniting the advantages of a newsroom and a library".

Chetham's Library

The oldest public library in the English-speaking world, Chetham's was founded in 1653 and has a wonderful collection of rare books. In the summer of 1845 Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels studied together at the table in the alcove of the Reading Room. Writing to Marx many years later in 1870 Engels states :

"During the last few days I have again spent a good deal of time sitting at the four-sided desk in the alcove where we sat together twenty-four years ago. I am very fond of the place. The stained glass window ensures that the weather is always fine there. Old Jones, the Librarian, is still alive but he is very old and no longer active. I have not seen him on this occasion".

Newsroom of the Portico Library
Portico Library