Chetham's Library

Contact details

Website: E-mail: Tel: 0161 834 7961 (General enquiries)

Photo of Interior of Chetham's Library

Image copyright: Chetham's Library

About the library

Chetham's Library, in Manchester, was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. It holds more than 100,000 volumes of printed books, of which 60,000 were published before 1851. These include rich collections of sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth-century printed works, periodicals, broadsides and other ephemera, with strong collections in theology, history, law, medicine, and science.

The Library defines its core collection as those works which were acquired from the 1650s up to 1851, but has acquired a lot of material since then, including the collection of John Byrom, shorthand writer and linguist; 3,100 broadsides and single-sheet publications; a collection of early maps; a variety of Scrapbooks containing rare ephemera; a significant collection of shorthand material; and c. 7,000 tracts and pamphlets of various dates. The Library has extensive collections relating to the history of Lancashire and Cheshire, with particular emphasis on the history of Manchester and its environs in the modern period.

The local library catalogue is available online.

British Library Interlibrary Loan Codes

  • Chetham's Library: H4

Accessing materials

Can I see live document availablility on Copac? No

Can I obtain items via Inter Library Loan? No, material is reference only.

Can I visit the library to view materials? Yes - visit the library's web site for access details. If you wish to visit it is advisable to contact the library in advance to ensure the material you need will be available.

How do I find primary source material held at this institution? Visit the Chetham's Library contributor page at the Archives Hub for information.


Chetham's Library data on Copac

Example record from Chetham's Library:

[Kanz ʼal-lug͡haẖ ʼal-ʿArabīyaẖ] siue Thesaurus linguæ Arabicæ / quem Antonius Giggeius Mediolanensis S. Theol., & Collegij Ambrosiani doctor ex monumentis Arabum manuscriptis, & impressis Bibliothecæ Ambrosianæ eruit, concinnauit, Latini iuris fecit, ac in quatuor volumina distribuit. Auspicijs, & liberalitate æternæ memoriæ Federici Borromæi Cardinalis, et Archiepisc. Mediol. eiusdem bibliothecæ, & Collegij Ambrosiani institutoris ... .
  Published: Mediolani : Ex Ambrosiani Collegij Typographia. M.DC.XXXII. Excudebat Ioannes Petrus Ramellatus typographus linguarum externarum. [1632]

You can browse all the titles on Copac starting with the above title.