John Rylans Library
Opening times vary
The John Rylands library is truly a magical place, it has the feel of something out of Harry Potter with its high vaulted ceilings, stone corridors and historical staircase. So that will keep the little ones amused, for the rest the library has 6 floors, the basement has lockers, toilets and baby changing. The ground floor as a small shop and Rylands café (locally sourced and fair trade where possible). Stairs or lift to the first floor, this floor is home to the temporary exhibition space, the Rylands Gallery which has some examples of the earliest books ever printed, the gallery is organised into seven themes – faiths, history of the bible, science, everyday life, literature, Manchester and arts and crafts of printing. The Spencer and Crawford rooms home a collection of sculptures and rare books.
Up the stairs or lift to level 2 and the wonderful breathtaking staircase and entrance hall. The statue facing the entrance is by John Cassidy and represents Theology directing the Labours of Science and the Arts. Take the stairs (no lift) down to see and use, if you need too the Victorian toilets, which haven’t been changed and remain as they were in 1900, (how they got their frocks in there is beyond me). They have a little creepy feel to them. Once relived, (well I think you have to give it ago, how many other times are you going to get to go on a loo that old)? Back up the stairs to the stair case and into the lift if you need to, but if you can do walk the sweeping staircase and take a look over the balcony. You are now on level 3 the Historic Reading room, it looks and feels like a cathedral, a statue of Mr. and Mrs Rylands grace either end of the room, for me it is what a library should feel and look like.
Just outside the reading room is this little fund raising machine, fun for the little kiddies, who am I kidding I put a few pound in myself to watch it. Nice thing about this is you can put in as much or as little as you like to set it off.
(sorry it’s on its side, I still haven’t worked out how to turn video)
The fourth floor isn’t open to the public, members only.