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The John Rylands Library Reading Room

(Photograph) - This is spectacular. It boasts art nouveau light fittings, and gates, carved wooden furniture and oak panelling. Even those without an eye for detail will be impressed by the grandeur of a space that seems more like a cathedral than a library. Flanked by magnificent stained-glass windows depicting famous figures from the arts and sciences, the Reading Room is where enrolled readers can study. Statues of bookish pioneers such as Caxton, the first English printer, gaze down benignly on those working below. On a guided tour of the building, school groups can do the same, getting the best view in the house from the first-floor balcony.

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