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Visiting the Library

Admission to the library is free and open to everyone. Our staff are always willing to help and advise. We are a reference library - you cannot borrow. All material can be studied on site, and a photocopying/scanning service is available.  You can use your own digital camera as long as you abide by our policy on photography.

If you want to visit the library to study you need to make an appointment. Individual and group tours are also welcome by appointment. You can also drop in between 1pm and 5pm on Wednesdays to Fridays.
There is an hour-long tour of the library on the first Wednesday of each month at 2pm, and on the first Saturday of most months at 11.30am - to book a place call 0161 736 3601 or email enquiries @  Please note that the tour involves climbing a lot of stairs. 

Opening Hours

Day Opening Closing
Tuesday 10:00 am
5:00 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am
5:00 pm
Thursday 10:00 am
5:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am
5:00 pm
Saturday - we are open on the first Saturday of most months (next open 2 May 2015)
10:00 am
4:00 pm
Sunday, and all Bank Holidays


Wheelchair access to reading room and ground floor is via a ramp at the rear of the building. People with restricted mobility can phone in advance to arrange parking.


The library is a 'closed access' library which means the staff fetch material for visitors - the layout of the building means it is not possible for readers to browse the shelves themselves.  To save yourself time therefore, before you visit, please use our online catalogue to locate material you wish to use. Give an initial list to the staff when you book your appointment.


The WCML is not just about the written word ("Here's another room full of books..."), the walls are covered with all manner of posters, paintings and other visual material. A tour of the library is a journey through 200 years of labour movement history in the British Isles.

Genealogical enquiries

While we welcome requests for information, we regret that we do not have the staff to answer directly more than the most straightforward questions. The potential information is limited by the individual's level of activity/office within their union or party. Older union records may have lists of ordinary members and sickness payments, arrears or resignations. Otherwise the more significant the individual, the more chance that we have any notable information. See our family history page for more details.