Chetham’s Library is open to readers by prior appointment. Please contact us as far in advance as possible to your desired date, and we’ll do our best to meet your needs..
The online catalogue includes most of the library’s printed material, but there is still work to do, and some material has not yet been added. If you don’t find what you need, or if your search doesn’t bring up the results you expected, please contact a librarian.
All of our records have searchable subject headings. Books of local interest may often be found by keyword searching for the name of a town or district in the ‘subjects’ index.
Please include the title, the author (if any), and the call number (at foot of record) when asking about a book you have found in the catalogue.
An appointment is needed to look at any of the material in the collection.
If you want to search for archival and manuscript material, please go to the Introduction to Chetham’s Manuscripts for an overview, or to the searchable Handlist of Manuscripts to look for specific terms.
Please report any problems to the catalogue administrator.
Once you have logged in to the Catalogue, Vsmart Help is available via a button on the left hand side of the screen. There are three main indexes, author, title and subject, and two main kinds of search: Browse, which provides a scrollable alphabetised view of the index; and Keyword, which allows searching for a particular word or set of words. The help files will tell you all you need to know.
In addition to the familiar Browse and Keyword searches for authors, titles and subjects, Chetham’s Library OPAC provides some additional functionality in its cataloguing of works printed prior to 1801:
Bindings of interest, and significant features showing provenance and ownership history have been indexed using terms drawn from the RBMS Thesauri for use in rare books and special collections cataloging. These terms can be browsed or keyword searched from the Subject index of the catalogue. Examples of such terms include:
Blind tooled bindings (Binding) — England — Winchester — 15th century
Inscriptions (Provenance) — Belgium — Louvain — 17th century
In addition to these index terms, the names of printers, booksellers, binders and former owners of works have been entered into the author index where identifiable. They can be browsed or searched by keyword in the same way as other entries in the author index.
The place of publication index is now available in addition to the author, title and subject indexes. It is organised alphabetically and hierarchically in the order [Modern Country name] — [Modern Town or city name]. You can browse or keyword search it like the other indexes, and when using keywords you can apply date or language limits as mentioned above: thus a keyword search under ‘Paris’ in this index, date limited to 1540-1601 and language limited to Latin would provide a list of works published at Paris within the years 1540-1601 inclusive and in, or mainly in the Latin language. The names of countries and of towns and cities follow modern English language usage. If a particular keyworded name does not provide the expected results, please browse the index.
Thanks to the work of Matthew Yeo on the acquisition of material by the Library prior to 1700, catalogue records for items in that category now contain a note with the phrase ‘Chetham’s Library acquisition date chetacq’ followed by the date from the accession register in the format yyyymmdd. So for example the catalogue record for the work Leonis Allatii De Symeonum scriptis diatriba (Paris, 1664) contains the note ‘Chetham’s Library acquisition date chetacq 16870207’, which tells us that the item was entered into the Library’s accessions register under the date 7 February 1687.
If you’d like to find out more about Matthew’s research, you can find a copy of his thesis at the British Library Ethos service or consult his book, The acquisition of books by Chetham’s Library, 1655-1700 (Leiden : Brill, 2011).