Towards Imagine2030

The University of Manchester Library

Annual Report 2022-2023

Librarian's introduction

This year has been another remarkable period of development, exploration and delivery of world-class services for The University of Manchester Library.

We continue to be guided by our Imagine2030 vision in terms of strategic priorities but also our values and ideas-led culture. Manchester has a long-standing reputation for innovation and ‘world-firsts’ as a city, University and Library. We are excited this year to continue that legacy through the appointment of Ciaran Talbot as Associate Director, AI and Ideas Adoption, the first senior AI appointment to be made by any major research library in the world. As Disraeli reportedly said, ‘What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow.’ He was speaking during the heart of the Industrial Revolution when Manchester, the world’s first industrial city, was driving global change. Our Library does more than hold archives of innovation and revolution, we are proud to be innovative and revolutionary ourselves.

We decided this year to do more than just talk about AI. We resolved to engage directly with its many transformative opportunities. We will do the same with Innovation District Manchester, the University’s £1.7billion investment in the future of North Campus and across all our other work in research, teaching and learning and social responsibility.

Manchester is one of the most exciting cities in Britain in which to work. Our University is one of the strongest academic communities in the world. Our Library plays its full part in helping to create and deliver our great city’s astonishing energy and our University’s remarkable culture. I want to thank everyone who has contributed during 2022-23 as we look forward to another remarkable year in 2024.

Professor Christopher Pressler,
John Rylands University Librarian and Director of The University of Manchester Library.

Professor Christopher Pressler in the Rylands

Reassessing our Lead Priority Areas

During 2022-23 we revisited the vision statements for two of our Imagine2030 Lead Priority Areas.

Our Students

The University of Manchester Library will continue to build upon its world-leading collections, valued services and award-winning teaching, learning and skills programmes to ensure it remains a beacon of good practice within the expanding range of flexible and inclusive learning opportunities at all levels of study.   

Our support will be characterised by our passion for working in partnership with students and the quality of our engagement with the teaching and learning community throughout the student journey and beyond.  

Our services will be innovative and delivered with creativity, equity and care to ensure the Library is a highly valued and deeply embedded component of everyone’s University of Manchester student experience.  

Through Imagine2030 our students will receive best-in-sector, digital-first content and services within the most welcoming and productive learning environment. 

Digital Library Manchester 

Putting our users at the heart, we aim to establish The University of Manchester Library as a global leader in the development of innovative and inclusive digital services via the application of cutting-edge technology, infrastructure and smart data use.   

The Digital Library has emerged as an area of unprecedented importance in the provision of access to our inspiring collections, knowledge and research regardless of time, place or ability. Building on an impressive history of digital service innovation and collaboration, Digital Library Manchester (DLM) will advance the evolution of our Digital Library through a transformation of our digital capabilities.

View of the historic staircase and windows at Rylands

Enabling Themes review

We also took the opportunity to add two new Enabling Themes (around which our annual report is structured) and rename them as Pillars.

  • Our AI: Our Library expands using AI and ideas adoption
  • Sustainability: Our Library seeks to live and work sustainably

We look forward to sharing developments on these and our seven other Pillars in next year's report.