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The Libraries of Greater Manchester and Library Hub Discover

Happy New Year and welcome to January 2022! This month our blog explores the very exciting and varied range of libraries in Greater Manchester! We explore THREE University libraries, Manchester Public Library and two incredible Special libraries which really showcase what is on offer. Welcome…. to Greater Manchester!

Did you know that you can also search Library Hub Discover directly for records held in specific libraries? Choose an ‘advanced’ search and select which institution you would like from the ‘Library’ section or search for a particular institution in the ‘Libraries list’ and click the 3 letter search code in the table to get started.

To find out more about searching Library Hub Discover, check out our Basic and Advanced search guides for more information on getting started.


The University of Manchester Library

The University of Manchester Library : Image Copyright – The University of Manchester Library

The University of Manchester Library holds over 4 million books and manuscripts, over 41,000 electronic journals and over half a million electronic books. It consists of the Main Library, Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, and many site libraries which cover the wide range of subjects and academic disciplines studied at Manchester.

The University of Manchester Library is also home to the John Rylands Research Institute and Library which holds the Special Collections and contains some of the most significant books and manuscripts ever produced. They include medieval illuminated manuscripts and the earliest forms of modern printing including the Gutenberg Bible. The University of Manchester Library is ranked in the top five university special collections in the world and contains a wide range of subjects including political history, economic and industrial history, history of medicine, literature, drama and music, rare books and maps, archives and manuscripts and so much more. The University of Manchester library is at the heart of the University and drives research innovation.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Manchester Public Libraries

Manchester is very proud to have an amazing public library service which has numerous branches across the city and provides an exceptional service to its users. Library Hub Discover is lucky to hold details of the special collections and periodicals held at Manchester Public Libraries which are held at the Central Library.

The special collections include many book rarities including the Elizabeth Gaskell Collection which is recognised by Gaskell scholars as one of the leading collections of printed material in the country.  It contains manuscripts, personal items, over 230 editions of her novels and much more.

The Coleridge collection contains first editions of Coleridge’s works and books about Coleridge as well as almost complete sets of collected editions from before 1930. It also contains newspaper cuttings and a large collection of portraits.

Alexander Ireland Collections include a collection of books and papers relating to 19th century essayists that were collated by Ireland throughout his life. Coverage of authors vary but contains many first editions of their works and other rare material.

The library collections also include rare printed music manuscripts from the Henry Watson Music Library – eg Handel – Newman Flower Collection, Gilbert and Sullivan.

The special collections are available at 24-hour notice within the search room at Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Manchester Metropolitan University Library – MMU

Manchester Metropolitan University: Image Copyright – MMU Library

Manchester Metropolitan University Library is at the heart of the University’s main campus. It’s a busy, modern library, set over six floors and it’s open 24/7 during term-time. Their comprehensive collections include more than one million books, ebooks and journals which support learning, teaching and research in all subject areas. They also have a team of expert librarians providing outstanding levels of support across five faculties and 37,000 students. MMU Library also includes the award-winning North West Film Archive, home of the moving image heritage of the North West of England.

The library’s Special Collections showcase the fine and decorative artifacts central to the University’s artistic culture and heritage and hold over 100 collections. Works include artists books, book design, children’s books, Zine Collection, Laura Seddon Collection and many more.

The recently opened Manchester Poetry Library is the fourth library of its kind in the UK and first within a university. It offers an extensive range of poetry in the many languages spoken in Manchester as well as a section dedicated to children’s poetry. The Poetry Library also has its own blog where you can find out more about events, exhibitions.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Salford University Library

University of Salford Library : Image Copyright – The University of Salford Library

The University of Salford Library has two sites and several library spaces on the Main Campus and at MediaCityUK. The main library, Clifford Whitworth offers bright, fresh, technology enabled study areas with a variety of attractive workspaces which allows students the freedom to learn in ways that feel natural and comfortable. The library provides access to a wide range of resources for research and learning including more than 348,000 books, 33,000 e-journals and 592,000 e-books and several special collections and archives.

Salford is the only University to have a campus at Media City – one of the country’s leading digital and media hubs.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

International Anthony Burgess Foundation

International Anthony Burgess Foundation : Image Copyright – The International Anthony Burgess Foundation

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation cares for a library and archive relating to the life and work of Anthony Burgess (1917-1993), the core of which was donated by Burgess’s widow, Liana (1929-2007), in 2003 from their homes in Bracciano, London, Lugano and Monaco.

The Burgess Foundation’s book collection consists of more than 8000 volumes, most of which formed Burgess’s private library. The books were acquired by Burgess and his family at a variety of different times and for a variety of reasons. Some books date from the period of Burgess’s school and university studies in Manchester in the 1920s and 1930s; some were sent to Burgess as gifts and document his wider interactions and friendships; some were acquired through Burgess’s role as a literary critic and reviewer; and some served as key reference texts for novels and other projects that Burgess worked on. The high number of works by James Joyce, William Shakespeare, DH Lawrence, and Vladimir Nabokov, among others, in the library reveal particularly favoured authors.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

Chetham’s Library

Chetham’s Library : Image Copyright – Chetham’s Library

Chetham’s Library is the oldest surviving free public library in the UK and was founded in 1653 as a library ‘for the use of scholars and others well affected’ in the will of a local merchant, Humphrey Chetham. The entire collection at Chetham’s Library has been designated as one of national and international importance. The Library is also an accredited museum, attracting visitors from all over the world.

The early collecting policy of the Library was to accumulate academic works, and it is thus strong in early modern works on theology, medicine, natural sciences, law, classics, history, geography and travel. After the mid 19th century it specialised in collecting British history with a strong bias towards the North West of England and has significant holdings of sources for Manchester history.

Its archival and manuscripts collection includes over 40 medieval MS books, hundreds of early modern MS books, antiquarian collections, and rich sources for local and regional history and for diaries and life-writing. There are well over 120,000 printed items, of which over half were published before 1850.

Find out more about the library and explore on Discover.

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