As shown through the focus on our final way to wellbeing, Manchester is full of great places to learn and discover. The John Rylands Library is no exception. It’s no ordinary library either, and goes far beyond offering just the stereotypical range of library books to its visitors. It offers a space to explore, take a break, learn outside of your studies, and it can be a change of scenery from your usual study spot. Perhaps best of all, no matter how you make use of the library, it’s a great place to benefit your wellbeing.
If you need a break from studying, the library is far away enough to escape campus and focus on something else, but a short enough distance away to take a quick bus ride just that little bit further into the city. The building is worth visiting just to take a look around – it is a piece of history in itself and has its own story to tell.
The library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands, before opening around ten years later in 1900, in memory of her late husband John Rylands as a gift to the people of Manchester. Mrs. Rylands enlisted the help of Basil Champneys to create the building after she was impressed with his work on Mansfield Collage in Oxford. His neo-gothic influence is evident around every corner. The building is incredibly detailed and has serious character, creating the same breath-taking effect as some of the most spectacular cathedrals in the world. In recent years the library has been used as a film set for popular TV programmes and films, including The Darkest Hour and Peaky Blinders.
The John Rylands Library is the perfect place to expand your awareness and knowledge, which, as evidence shows, links to better wellbeing. In many ways, the library offers the opportunity to discover and learn about past issues and affairs that mirror, or have shaped, the world we live in today. It does this through its exhibitions and various collections, like the current exhibition “Peterloo: Manchester’s Fight for Freedom” which is on until 29 September and allows you to learn about how the Peterloo Massacre shaped Manchester. Not only this, but it’s interesting to see how past events reflect the political landscape today – fake news was an issue even 200 years ago!
And whilst heading to the library makes a great trip out, it’s ideal for students looking to use it for their studies too. The Reading Rooms are now a study space for those that want a change of scenery away from campus to boost their productivity. And if you need any resources for an essay, dissertation, or any other project or assignment, then students can view the special collections upon request. The majority are already recorded and listed on the library search tool, but the library plans to have them all digitised for students in the future.
Whatever your reason for going to The John Rylands Library, whether it’s as part of a day out , a trip off campus, or for your studies, it’s guaranteed to leave you in awe of your surroundings and more clued up on Manchester’s history. For more details and useful information, you can check out what’s on over on the website – there are tours that allow you to explore the library as well as exhibitions and workshops to suit a range of ages and interests.