Page 1

The John Rylands Library


What’s on

7 September – 4 March 2018


The John Rylands Library is a place of wonder; a glorious, unrepentant celebration of imagination and learning.

“ Your library is your paradise” Desiderius Erasmus

Free to visit and open seven days a week, it was created more than 100 years ago as a gift to Manchester and its people. For some, the Library is a sanctuary amid the city hubbub; a tranquil space of soaring pillars, private corners and beautiful decoration. For others, it’s testament to our perpetual desire to communicate. The Library’s extraordinary collections reflect more than five millennia of writing, thinking and sharing. For all it’s a love story; of Mrs Enriqueta Rylands’ determination to keep her husband’s name alive, to create a world-class literary resource and to give it to the city she adored. What’s the best way to explore The John Rylands Library? This Guide is your starting point. Whether you have half an hour or a whole afternoon, our suggestions on page 6 will help you make the most of your visit.

Collections are showcased through our exhibitions. Our latest exhibition, Reformation, tells the story of Martin Luther, Henry VIII and William Tyndale, and features fascinating items from our Special Collections. Throughout the year we hold regular events, library tours and family activities (page 8). Sign up for our e-newsletter via our website and you’ll never miss out. Of course, no visit is complete without a browse around our shop. The John Rylands Library is a working public library. Find out how to join as a reader - it’s free - on page 11.

Have a wonderful visit!

Other ways to find out what’s on /TheJohnRylands @TheJohnRylands Sign up to our e-newsletter Read our blogs on Special Collections


What’s on | September 2017 - March 2018


A monk who shattered the strength of the Catholic Church, a monarch who wanted to take more than one wife, a society that put sin up for sale - and the power of the printed word to challenge it all. Our latest exhibition reveals a series of events that changed the course of history forever. In October 1517, German monk and scholar Martin Luther began questioning the Catholic Church, particularly for its sale of “indulgences”, or sins that could be forgiven - for a price. Luther may have remained a little-known scholar but for the fact that his words took shape in printed form, reaching thinkers all over the world – including the radical scholar, William Tyndale and one of history’s most notorious monarchs, King Henry VIII. The Reformation invites you to journey through these tumultuous times. Find out how Luther’s work led to the splintering of the Catholic Church in England. Learn how Henry VIII’s attempts to divorce led to him overthrowing the Catholic Church and electing himself head of the Church of England. And discover why William Tyndale’s translation of the bible into English is still felt in the language we speak today. 4

What’s on | September 2017 - March 2018

The Reformation explores the consequences of these events via rare religious tracts owned by The John Rylands Library, letters that positively spit blood. The Reformation showcases revolutionary writings that not only changed the course of English history - these words changed the world.

Open daily, free entry Follow us @TheJohnRylands and tag your posts


Making the most of your visit

Whether you’ve a few minutes or a few hours, a trip to The John Rylands Library is always worthwhile.

“Beautifully curated exhibition and awe-inspiring architecture”

Our recommendations are designed to help you make best use of the time you’ve got.

If you have…

20 minutes

Historic Reading Room No visit is complete without it. Intricately-carved stone corridors lead you to the Library’s magnificent centrepiece. Pore over rare books on display, watch the light stream through the stained glass window or simply absorb the spectacular neo-Gothic architecture.

30 minutes

Historic Reading Room – Rylands Gallery The Rylands Gallery holds rare and precious items from our collections. The Library’s most famous artefact - a fragment of the Gospel of St John, one of the earliest surviving pieces of New Testament - is on permanent display here.

60 minutes

Historic Reading Room – Rylands Gallery – Exhibitions Our regularly changing exhibitions provide a unique insight into our vast collections and the stories they tell. Sign up to our e-newsletter or look at our website to see what you’ll discover on your visit.


What’s on | September 2017 - March 2018

Over an hour

Take part in one of our activities The Library’s regular events programme (page 8) includes free tours, printing demonstrations, late night opening and close encounters with our collections. There’s always extra fun during the school holidays and our free family trail is great if you’re bringing little ones.

Don’t forget to…

• Browse through our eclectic, collection-inspired shop for great presents and souvenirs • Spend a penny in one of the last original Victorian lavatories in Manchester. Look out for the ‘bustle space’ on the seats in the Ladies • Ask questions! We love helping people enjoy their visit


Regular events

“An inspiring place”

Introductory tours An unmissable 30 minute tour: get an exclusive tour of the Library, discover the stories behind the building and collections and learn more about their history. Tours run every Wednesday and Friday, 3pm - 3.30pm, and you can just turn up.

Thursday lates The third Thursday of every month, the Library stays open until 7pm. Explore the building after hours, engage with history and culture and marvel at the magnificent architecture in a completely different light.

Collection encounters Insightful and inspiring, get up close to fascinating items from our collections, ask questions and share your own stories and understanding of the objects. Everyone is welcome and no prior knowledge is needed. See the website for dates.

Family activities Join us throughout the year for creative activities inspired by our collections and exhibitions, from mystical trails to magical story time. With extra holiday-time events, there’s plenty of free family fun to be had in our captivating and ‘a little bit spooky’ Library.

Visit whats-on/events to view our current and upcoming events 8

What’s on | September 2017 - March 2018


“Simply a magnificent building”

Plan your visit Opening times: Monday:

12noon - 5pm

Tuesday – Saturday: 10am - 5pm Sunday:

12noon - 5pm

Closed: 23 December 2016 to 3 January 2017

Take a picture The Library’s architecture makes for a great photo but we’re unable to allow photography of collection items on display, due to the delicate nature of these items. We occasionally run photography sessions that allow visitors to photograph the collections, to find out more check out the website or ask a member of staff.

Joining the Library

Shop The John Rylands shop has a range of unusual and beautiful gifts inspired by the Library’s vast collections and the building itself. Look out for detailed prints, decorative postcards and books amongst handy stationery and ornate wrapping paper.

Access The modern entrance provides level access with power-assisted doors and an accessible toilet. There is lift access to all public areas except the Historic Entrance and the Historic Toilets.

Anyone over the age of 16 is welcome to join the Library as a reader. Access to the collections is free and we can advise you on how to find material. For further details please contact the Reader Services team on 0161 275 3764 or

Guide dogs are welcome. 10 What’s on | September 2017 - March 2018 11

Getting here Situated on Deansgate, in the heart of Manchester, The John Rylands Library is easily accessible by road, tram, train and foot. Nearest Metrolink: St Peter’s Square Nearest car park: NCP on Watson Street Nearest train station: Deansgate Nearest bus stop: Albert Square / Metroshuttle 1 and 2 (stop directly outside The John Rylands Library)

For information on nearby parking including blue badge parking, please visit or contact our Visitor Engagement team on 0161 306 0555.

The John Rylands Library 150 Deansgate Manchester M3 3EH

/TheJohnRylands 0161 306 0555


Sign up to our e-newsletter via the website

For a large print version of this document visit

Design by SMC_08.2017

The John Rylands Library What's On guide Sept 17 - March 18  

What’s the best way to explore The John Rylands Library? This Guide is your starting point. Whether you have half an hour or a whole afterno...

The John Rylands Library What's On guide Sept 17 - March 18  

What’s the best way to explore The John Rylands Library? This Guide is your starting point. Whether you have half an hour or a whole afterno...