mobile menu decorative search icon decorativeSearch the site

How to find special print books elsewhere

COPAC is a union catalogue formed by merging the online library catalogues of over 60 major UK research libraries, including two dozen major university libraries, the British Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, Trinity College Dublin, National Art Library (V&A), and libraries in many National Trust properties and Anglican cathedrals in England and Wales. It is the single most useful source for locating rare books within the UK.

See also B.C. Bloomfield, A directory of rare book and special collections in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, 2nd edition (London: Library Association, 1997). R162514.

In the Manchester area there are several other libraries with important special collections:

Manchester Central Library: contains a number of important Special Collections such as the Henry Watson Music Library, local literary collections, and a collection of Manchester theatre material. Archives and Local Studies contains extensive printed collections and important archives relating to the history of Manchester.

Manchester Metropolitan University Library: major collections include the extensive Book Design Collection of finely printed, illustrated and artists’ books; the Manchester Society of Architects Library; the North West Film Archive; the Schmoller Collection of Decorated Papers; the Children’s Book Collection and the Manchester School of Art Collection.

Chetham’s Library: the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. It contains 60,000 books published before 1851, including important collections of 16th- and 17th-century printed works, periodicals and journals, broadsides and other ephemera.

The Portico Library: a subscription library containing a fine selection of 19th-century fiction and travel writing. Researchers are welcome to the Library to study from the permanent collection.