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The John Rylands Research Institute

The Historic Reading Room at John Rylands Library

About the John Rylands Research Institute

Our mission is to open up our Special Collections to innovative and multidisciplinary research, in partnership with colleagues in Manchester and across the globe.

At the John Rylands Research Institute we ask one of the most basic but important of questions: what does it mean to be human? We work with researchers in the humanities and the sciences to explore human experience and culture, across the globe, over the last 5,000 years, examining arts and literature, politics, economic systems, trade and communications, and religious faith. We trace the continuities, changes and contradictions in human experiences and cultures that allow us to consider what being human means.

Our Special Collections contain several hundred languages, and are written on virtually every medium – from papyrus to pixels. We hold some of the most significant printed books, manuscripts and archive collections in the world, from the earliest surviving fragment of the New Testament to modern literary archives and the papers of individual scientists.

Through our collaboration with eminent scholars, and by supporting and mentoring emerging scholars, we have created a dynamic community of world-leading researchers at the John Rylands Research Institute, all focused on our core mission to define, explain and celebrate what makes us human.