What your library area says about you

The definitive guide to the John Rylands Library

Yes, the Learning Commons is all new and shiny and pretty. We get it.

But the library is our old and faithful. It’s your old, creeky, slightly dysfunctional friend susceptible to massive variances in temperature. John Rylands has been a stalwart in the lives University of Manchester students for years and in the process certain students have come to gravitate towards different areas.

It’s time to finally learn your Blue 1s from your Orange 5s.


Blue 1

You’re a Fresher, and you’re bloody loud.

You’ve got a deadline but you’d much rather people watch. The novelty of doing a night sesh in the library with your loud mates from halls whilst eating Sainsbury’s snacks hasn’t yet worn off.

It can be a relative safe zone. Although if you sit anywhere near the escalator, five minutes in you will immediately marvel at how some students don’t understand that people can indeed hear you even if they cannot see you on the escalator EVER got into university. Plus during exams getting a space in here after 9am is a bitch…


Blue 2/3/4

You’re so mainstream.

Indistinguishable. Most often frequented by humanities students with 99 problems, one of which is an essay deadline. If you enjoy studying without sunlight or optimism, you’ll sit here.

For the unadventurous


You’re a billy no mates.

Either that or you’re running late and there’s absolutely no where else to sit.

Averaging a pretty solid 12.6 study places per floor, if you have no friends, this place is perfection. Just be prepared for weird looks from visiting students emanating a sense of inner power when they turn the light on and off in the journal article aisles. Like a proper grown up.

Who needs mates when you’ve got books?

Or you’re partial to a library romp.

Shout out to Orange 5 with a grand total of 4 seats. Clearly only good for one thing

Where even is this?

Green 3

Four words: Law and science students.

If you make noise, they have an exceptionally niche set of skills. And they will find you. And they will kill you.

But the books look so fancy

Green 2

You’re too organised.

Green is also the land of the posh private study rooms. For the people who actually have friends.

You’re probably an economics-and-finance-studying-dragon’s-den-wannabe too.

So exclusive


You’re edgy.

For those who enjoy dim lighting and want to look cool whilst they study.

The rest of us find ourselves wondering where the hell this even is.  Apparently there are maps? Maybe to help you find a sense of purpose in life after accidentally finding yourself here?


Red 2

You’re an early bird and you take yourself very seriously. 

To those keen beans in the know it’s a warm, ridiculously bright haven. But you better be a morning person – only the hard workers who get there at 8.30am manage to snap up a sacred red seat.

To others, it’s a mystical land only ever discovered on an 11:30PM jaunt when the library has sent you crazy and you decide to go ‘exploring’.

Or perhaps when you’re after a rousing sing-song what with the plethora of music scores stored here.

Just composing

Or you’re a member of staff.

Note also that most of Red is ‘Library Staff Only’. If that doesn’t peak your curiosity, nothing ever will.

OMG what if there’s more books?!

Honourable Mention: The Stairwell

Apparently some people think ‘studying’ is coming to the library, putting their shit somewhere, then taking a call in the stairwell or chatting with their friends in the stairwell.

Funnily enough, this place is not a magical land where no one can hear your INSANE laughter at a pretty damn average joke or you whining about the amount of work you have to do before you can hit up Sankeys.

That shit echoes, man. Stop it.

Pipe down


Blue is normal, blue is safe. Never leave Blue.