John Rylands next chapter

John Rylands next chapterThe University of Manchester’s John Rylands Research Institute and Library (Rylands) is set to enrich and transform the researcher and visitor experience, thanks to the John Rylands Next Chapter project, a £7.6 million capital investment.

The project, one of the lead priority areas in the Library’s Imagine2030 vision, is intended to prepare the Rylands for the challenges and opportunities of the mid-21st century. When complete, the redesigned spaces will enhance the Library’s contribution to the University’s research, student experience and public engagement with research agendas.

The John Rylands Next Chapter project will deliver:

  • Transformed exhibition spaces
  • A state-of-the-art Advanced Imaging Laboratory
  • Enhanced facilities to host academic and public events
  • Refreshed main entrance and reception area

Other developments include enabling access to the historic cellars (to be transformed in a future phase of the project) and improvements to workspaces for Library staff. Work will begin in January 2024 for 12 months.

The Rylands is Grade-1 listed and the proposals are being developed with sensitivity, to protect and enhance one of Manchester’s most important and best loved buildings. Conservation architects Donald Insall Associates are the lead designers for the project, while Nissen Richards Studio are developing the exciting exhibition proposals. Nissen Richards have extensive experience of creating exhibitions within historic environments.

Professor Christopher Pressler, John Rylands University Librarian and Director of The University of Manchester Library, said:

“The Rylands is one of the great libraries of the world. I am tremendously proud to lead this remarkable institution, as we approach our 125th anniversary in 2024/25. The Next Chapter project will deliver world-class facilities for research and engagement, of a quality to match our extraordinary collections and building. It will equip the Rylands to address the many challenges and opportunities of the mid-21st century, and it will reinforce the Rylands’ importance to the University, the city of Manchester, and world heritage.”

It is expected that the Rylands will stay open during the project, with areas of the building closing as needed whilst the redevelopment work takes place. The project team are focused on being able to continue to offer exhibitions and events in different areas of the building or other Library spaces so that visitors can continue to engage with outstanding items from the collections. For up-to-date information on what’s on offer, see the Rylands website.