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Durham University

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Back to Billy Bee - restarting Library Services on Campus

(3 July 2020)

University Library and Collections staff (ULC) have been busy planning re-starting services on campus to add to our current digital only offer, following Government and University guidance.

We will be offering five areas of service, some of which will allow limited physical access. Our digital offering has been in place since March, and other services will be added over the summer:

  • Digital
  • Scan and deliver
  • Click and collect
  • Browse and borrow
  • Stay and study

Detailed plans have been established by the group for the Bill Bryson Library and plans for our other buildings such as Palace Green Library and the Oriental Museum are being developed.

As we move to Browse and Borrow and Stay and Study users will gain access to the Bill Bryson Library, although the number of users allowed in will be limited, with increasing levels of occupancy as circumstances and guidance allow.

What are the first steps? 

We are gradually moving back to an onsite library service, initially just at Bill Bryson Library; we have already opened a book-drop facility for the return of books which has been well used.

A small number of library staff have returned to the building to work on managing our book returns, shelving and digitising resources that are held there. This work will support the inclusion of resources available for taught modules and reading lists. Please see below for details of how to request digitisation for reading lists. 

How has this been made possible? 

The health and safety and wellbeing of our staff and users is at the forefront of our minds throughout the planning process. 

Staff from the ULC team have developed a detailed re-opening plan. We have worked closely with Health and Safety and Estates and Facilities colleagues who have provided fantastic support and advice, allowing us to implement safe working practices. 

Services and procedures will be kept under review and revised in line with Government and University guidance.

What next? 

Scan and Deliver 

We are offering a new ‘Scan and Deliver’ service, initially for our academic staff, PGR and PGT students. Users will be able to request scans of chapters and articles available in print in the Bill Bryson library for individual research only. This will be through an online form on Discover, where you can search our collections and resources. The request form will be available from Friday 3 July and details will be available on our website.(Please note: If you require items to be digitised for teaching purposes, follow the ‘digitisation of library resources for reading lists’ guidance below.)

Click and Collect

We are implementing a click and collect service. This is aimed at academic staff, PGR and PGT students in the first instance, and will be extended to other users in August. The request form will be available from Monday 13 July. Details on how to submit your request will be available on our website.

Access to Bill Bryson Library for our users 

We are aiming to have some study and research spaces available for academic staff, PGR and PGT students from week of 27 July. Users will have to pre-book and we will be running at reduced capacity to ensure a safe environment for our users and staff. 

Access to other buildings 

Access to Palace Green Library and Oriental Museum for research will be available in August and is being planned based on a prioritisation exercise aligned with the official guidance from the Government and the lockdown restrictions. Details will be made available as our opening plans progress.

Keep up to date

Should you have any queries, check out our FAQs at or email

Keep up to date with our re-opening plans by following #BacktoBillyBee and #ReturntoULC on our library social media accounts:


How to request digitisation of library resources for reading lists 

Please visit our webpages for details on how to request digitisation of library resources for reading lists -

Our team will be working hard to process these requests and make them available as quickly as possible. Help us by noting the following:

* Normal copyright restrictions will apply

* Check your request carefully for accuracy before submitting it

* Scanning requests will be sourced from our Digital content store, external repository or from items held at Bill Bryson Library only

* We are unable to access our other Durham Library sites at present. 

* Requests may take longer to process than previous years.

Get in touch