Chetham's Library

Long Millgate
M3 1SB

Who we are

Chetham's Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. Housed in a building dating from the 1420s, and one of the few medieval buildings in the city centre, the Library's entire collections have been designated as of national and international importance. The collections include rich holdings of early printed books, manuscripts and archives, prints, engravings and photographs. The library specialises in the history of the North West and has one of the largest collections of material on the history of Manchester and its neighbouring towns. In addition, the Library is important not simply for what it has but for who has used it. The list of distinguished visitors includes Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, John Wesley, Daniel Defoe, Benjamin Franklin and Damon Albarn! Chetham's offers children and young people the opportunity to look round a medieval building, see a working library in action, sit at 350 year-old tables and chairs, look at rare and unique material and inhabit a world that looks very much like Hogwarts. You can explore some of the library's treasures, search the catalogue and follow the blog at the website