Our purpose

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library promotes research in the humanities and sciences using the astonishingly rich and diverse special collections of The University of Manchester Library.

Our mission is to define the human experience over five millennia and up to the current day, by opening up our special collections to innovative and multidisciplinary research and by engaging wider audiences in that research.

Special Collections

Our special collections are world-leading in their significance and diversity, offering limitless research potential across a broad spectrum of disciplines. They include several hundred languages and span five thousand years, from cuneiform tablets to email archives, from Gutenberg to Ginsberg.

They contain some of the most significant printed books and manuscripts ever produced, alongside unique archive collections, maps and visual material, documenting a wealth of traditions from around the world. These collections underpin the Library’s status as the National Research Library in the North as part of one the world’s leading research-intensive universities.

Our research

The Rylands acts as a catalyst and focus for the world-leading research of the University, helping to draw the best minds to Manchester and establishing it as one of the great centres for the study of textual, material and visual cultures.

Our research incorporates new approaches in digital humanities and curation, as well as scientific techniques in the study and conservation of heritage materials. We collaborate with established researchers while nurturing the next generation of scholars through our support for MA and PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and by promoting research-led teaching.

Diversity and inclusion

We are strongly committed to diversifying our collections, our practices and our workforce. We believe that this is the moment to commit to permanent changes which will increase diversity in the sector and the representation and contributions of communities previously obscured within the collections we curate.