A £7.6m renovation project set to transform the John Rylands library has been given the green light by the council.

Regarded as one of the finest examples of stunning neo-Gothic architecture in all of Europe, the Grade I-listed structure is set to undergo improvement works as part of the John Rylands Next Chapter project, which forms part of the library’s wider Imagine2030 vision.

Proposed plans for the University of Manchester-owned building, which have been drawn up by conservation architects at Donald Insall Associates, include an updated exhibition space, an advanced imaging laboratory, a flexible event space and a refreshed main entrance incorporating its evolution through the 1890s, 1920s, 1960s and 2000s.

The university said the work would “enhance its contribution to research, student experience and public engagement”.

Professor Christopher Pressler, John Rylands University Librarian and Director of The University of Manchester Library, said: “The Rylands is one of the great libraries of the world. I am tremendously proud to lead this remarkable institution, as we approach our 125th anniversary in 2025. The Next Chapter project will deliver world-class facilities for research and engagement, of a quality to match our extraordinary collections and building.

“It will equip the Rylands to address the many challenges and opportunities of the mid-21st century, and it will reinforce the Rylands’ importance to the University, the city of Manchester, and world heritage.”

The library is expected to remain open throughout the process, with specific areas closing as required.

Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Thu 15 Feb 2024