Chetham's Library

Chetham's Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world. It is an independent charity and remains open to readers and visitors free of charge.

The entire collection at Chetham's Library has been designated as one of national and international importance, an accolade of which we are extremely proud.

The Library began acquiring books in August 1655, and has been adding to its collections ever since. As well as a fine collection of early printed books, the collections include a wealth of ephemera, manuscript diaries, letters and deeds, prints, paintings and glass lantern-slides.

You can explore some of Chetham's treasures, search the online catalogue and find out more about our collections by following the links in the menu above.   

Chetham's Library is open Monday to Friday 9.00-12.30 a.m. and 1.30-4.30 p.m. Please make an appointment if you wish to read.

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