Rare and controversial books

Books, journals and pamphlets from the library that are rare, fragile or contain what we consider to be controversial ideas are moved into the archive for preservation and access purposes.

Photo: Signed copy of Paul Robeson's autobiography 'Here I Stand'
Signed copy of Paul Robeson's autobiography 'Here I Stand'

Rare books

You will find most of these books through the Manchester Libraries Online catalogue where they are marked as being in the archive, meaning you need to request to view them as you would an archive collection.

Controversial books

A number of older books in our collection contain ideas and / or language that have now been recognised as racist or offensive in other ways. We prefer not to have these on the open shelves but recognise that they are an important part of the story of race relations in the 20th Century, so we keep them within the archive collections and they can be accessed upon request. 


A considerable amount of this material is rare and would be difficult to replace, so is only available to access upon request. If you wish to browse or study this material please ask a member of staff at our enquiry desk or email us

For more information about how to access our resources please visit our 'How to use the library' webpage: