A recent visit to the Spinningfields Market ultimately ended up in, me visiting the John Rylands Library which was not even 100 m away from the markets. I have travelled past this library on numerous occasions earlier, but never really had enough time to stop by and take a look at it. So, this time when I had some spare hours at my disposal, I decided to take a quick look inside (Interestingly, the ‘quick look’ lasted for more than an hour. Here, let me inform you that photography inside the library is restricted. While taking photos of the interiors are allowed, the exhibitions and the enormous collection of books are beyond the scope of photography.
Being a library, such rules are fair enough and should be respected. Due to this, I would describe the library as much as possible trusting my memory to aid me .
From the main entrance, you need to take the stairs or the elevator to the first level . This is the corridor which runs along the length of the exhibition halls. The corridor is lighted by beautiful yellow lights and has glass painted windows. Interestingly, there are folding chairs which can be used by those who need it. Further, since the roof is very high and might give you sore necks, there are mirrors kept in the corridors which can be used to explore the beautiful high ceilings.
This corridor leads to the Spencer and Crawford Rooms which houses the collection of Earl Spencer’s early printed books and Earl Crawford’s manuscript collections. It also boasts of the Tregaskis and Anthony Dowd collections of fine bindings.
Further on is the Temporary Exhibition Space. Exhibitions here keep on changing, so it is better to check with the reception first. I personally saw an exhibition on Magic, Witches and Devils in the Early Modern World. Photography is prohibited. However, if you do want some photographs you would have to contact the administration.
- This doorway is opposite the Main staircase. The light filtering through the windows and the artificial lights yellow lights merge together to give a different light effect.
The serpentine built of the main staircase, in the first instance reminded me of the elaborate stairs of Hogwarts. After climbing half a flight of stairs , if you look up you would see the elaborately decorated roof. This beautiful light, at the base of the stairs enhances the effects of the old staircase even more.
On reaching the next level, you would see this beautiful chair and table set welcoming you. But this is more than a hundred years old and thus care needs to be taken if you want to sit on it or click selfies on it.
The statues of Mr and Mrs Rylands grace each end of the Main Reading Room.
This is a quiet and comfortable section fo the main reading room. In case you do not want to take a seat in the aisle , you can retire with your book to one of these lovely sections. Silence is to be maintained at all times ; even though visitors are allowed it is still a library and one must not forget that. Food and drinks are strictly not allowed; however bottled water can be brought in . It is advisable to either keep your mobile phones switched off or in the silent mode during your visit so as to not break the decorum of this place.
I have tried to capture the entire feel of the library in this photo. The entrance to the Main Reading room is from the far right. Thereafter, the long aisle starts on both sides. After a section of beautiful displays of books, scriptures and handmade drawing and paintings (which cannot be photographed), there is place for the visitors to sit and do some reading. The hollowed sections in between the pillars are reading corners (one of which has been photographed above). The windows have paintings and designs on them. And while you are in this room, do not forget to look up 😛 ! The room uniquely resembles a cathedral with gothic architecture.
This is one of the two glass works in the main reading room.
A view of the reading room from its entrance. To be honest the length of this place and the space it occupies cannot be gauged looking at this photograph.
With me, there has to be some really crazy photo everywhere.Thus, even in the midst of a library I found a cute Dino (Well a mix between a dino and a dragon really) poster.
At the end, I would leave you with one of my favourite parts of the library. This sculpture. This is present at the base of the main staircase and captures your attention the moment you lay eyes on it. It is beautiful, elegant , medieval- ish and I liked it a lot, so captured it. Jokes apart, it represents Theology Directing the Labours of Science and the Arts and are by John Cassidy.
Now, the library has its own sets of donors and trustees but mainly works on visitor donations. If you would want to donate you are most welcome. alternately, you can have a look at their amazing collections of souvenirs in the library shop or take a break and grab a bite at the cafe. The proceeds of the food and shopping goes into the maintenance of the library.If you are a student, teacher or someone who loves books and libraries, you can contact them for membership. It is a working library and people do take benefits of the more than 1.4 million literary resources kept safely within its walls.
Here are some useful information about the Library:
Address: 150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EHHow to Reach? The free Metroshuttle goes straight past the library. Alternately, you can take First Bus 8 , 67 or 100 and get down at Deansgate and walk your way through.
Nearest Landmark: Albert Hall, City Council, Manchester.
Opening Times: Tues-Sat 10 am – 5 pm; Sun and Mon 12 noon – 5 pm
Entrance Fee: The Library is free for every visitor .