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The University of Manchester Library

Becoming a Reader

To register as a reader at the Deansgate building, go to Reader Reception on Level 4 of the Entrance Wing. Information about using material held at the Main Library on the Oxford Road campus is given in the section Using Special Collections at the Main Library.

Staff and students of the University of Manchester are automatically registered as readers of Special Collections through their University of Manchester registration. Simply present your University card at Reader Reception. However, if you wish to consult archives, manuscripts or rare printed books you will also need a letter of reference (see below).

Anyone else can also register as a Special Collections reader. There is no charge for this service. Simply bring two forms of identification: one should contain a photograph and one should include proof of address. For example you could bring:

If you wish to consult rare books, manuscripts or archives, you must bring a letter of reference outlining the purpose of your research. This might be a letter from a lecturer who is supervising your research work or a colleague within an academic department. We also accept letters of reference from family history societies and other similar organisations. Please contact us if you have any queries.

Students of The University of Manchester: you can download the pro-forma below, fill it in and ask your tutor to sign it, then bring it with you to Reader Reception. This replaces the normal requirement to bring a letter of reference.

The John Rylands Library reserves the right to refuse applications for reader cards in the interests of the conservation and security of collections. We also may refuse readers permission to consult rare materials for the same reasons.