Welcome to your University Library!

As you will come to realise when you arrive at university, spending time in the library is imperative to succeeding at higher education level.

Essential readings. Two thousand word essays.  Online assessments. Within the first few weeks of study, you will be expected to self-sufficiently complete tasks in order to further your overall knowledge of your subject. For every hour that is spent in guided tuition, such as lectures, tutorials and seminars, students are expected to do at least three hours of independent research.

At the University of Manchester, there are a number of different facilities that can be utilised in order to further one’s learning. The two most prominent buildings are The University of Manchester Library, and the new Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, both of which offer high-tech workspaces and a plethora of resources that have been designed with scholars in mind.


The University of Manchester Library

The University of Manchester Library (previously known as John Rylands Library) is one of the biggest and most well-stocked libraries in Britain. The collection has been recognised for its wealth of high-quality literature, and has recently been appointed as one of five national research libraries.

Students from all courses regularly visit the library to brush up on their subject and ensure that they do not have any gaps in their knowledge. There are literally hundreds of thousands of books to read through and enjoy, ranging from books on Shakespeare and the French Revolution to music scores, geographical ordinance survey maps, and biological microscope slides.

The library itself stretches over a multitude of coloured floors, all of which correspond to different types of books. Most key texts are held on the blue floors, whereas journals, scores, and maps are held on orange, red, and green, respectively, allowing users to find the books they need quickly.  The books’ locations can be found by searching the library catalogue, which gives information on the floor, the colour, and the shelf number where the book can be found.

In the library’s foyer, a number of machines can be used to automatically loan books out for a period of one to four weeks. It only takes around three seconds to scan each book; the process is really easy, and doesn’t require queuing in order to take items out. If you find that you need a book for longer than the allocated time, renewals can be issued online through the university’s intranet, saving you the trip to the library if it’s rainy outside! Furthermore, if you need a specific book that is not currently in stock, you can reserve it and collect it when it comes back into the catalogue.

Within the green areas, social and group study zones can be found. If you have collaborative work to do, such as presentations, learning rooms can be booked where groups of up to eight people can go to work in soundproof booths. All of the rooms feature computer suites, power outlets, and whiteboards, which are perfect for planning and then creating documents or models. Likewise, UoM’s new building, the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, are perfect for relaxing and working on projects with friends.

The Alan Gilbert Learning Commons


Like the library, the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons   features a large range of different facilities that can be taken advantage of. Branding itself through its great open spaces and expansive seating areas, the structure gives students an alternative place to study. Having more than thirty individual breakout rooms and media screens to connect laptops up to, the study rooms provide further locations for people to go and work collaboratively. When work is getting too much and a break is needed, students can simply visit the eatery on the Common’s ground floor, or visit one of the many vending machines that are dotted around throughout the building.

The Learning Commons will also host a series of training workshops that will aim to hone students’ academic and transferable skills. These will include training on revision and studying skills, and how to effectively note-take. Such sessions will be especially useful for first-year students, bridging over the college-to-university gap.

The library and the Learning Commons are both fantastic resources; you’ll definitely take advantage of them if you come to The University of Manchester!