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It seems that this week has been dragon themed and I’ve had the opportunity to spend time surrounded by some of Manchester’s wonderful architecture.

Historic Entrance, John Rylands Library

The hectic nature of the past few weeks has passed and this week has seen a slow down in the amount of time out of the office.  We did, however, spend our team planning day at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, which was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband, and opened to the public in 1900. It became part of the University of Manchester in 1972. The afternoon was spent learning more about how to take effective photos at our events, and we had photographer Derek Trillo giving us lots of useful tips before we were let loose in the Library.

Several of us returned to the John Rylands Library on Friday night to volunteer as part of the Museums at Night 2012 weekend. The Library hosted a Dr Who themed sleepover, and we helped to make sonic screwdrivers, journals and projections for the wall with the families who braved sleeping in the Historic Reading Room.

 I moved away from the Dr Who idea and went more medieval with my own projections.

Library Stores

We even got to go behind the scenes into the Library stores. This is where the books I normally ask to read in the Library are stored and it was wonderful to see where they live backstage as it were.

The volunteers managed to get a few hours’ sleep in the Crawfor Gallery before breakfast and heading home.

I have to admit, I spent much of my time looking at the detail of the Library’s carvings and I’m always amazed by how many dragons there are lurking in the cloisters. I think this is my current favourite:

On Saturday evening I was taken to see Gemma Hayes perform at St Ann’s Church. It was a great gig, although my lack of sleep started to take its toll toward the end of the evening. I’d always seen the church from the outside but never had occasion to go in. It’s a lovely space and will celebrate its 300th anniversary this July. Although there wasn’t the opportunity to look round, I did have chance to admire the stained glass windows close to where we were sitting, and I will be returning to the church at some point to find out more about its place in Manchester’s history.

On another note, I have also been asked to introduce one of the medieval manuscripts at the beginning of the illuminated letters session at the John Rylands Library. I am very excited about being able to share my passion for these wonderful texts, and just as excited about being able to have a go at illumination for myself in the session that follows. But more about that another time.

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