About the University Library and Heritage Collections
Durham University Library and Heritage Collections provide an excellent range of collections, resources, and flexible study spaces across five library locations and online. The University Library is always busy; over 762,000 borrowing and renewals transactions, about 2.575 million e-journal downloads, and over 3 million e-book accesses were made during the last academic year. More key annual data for the Library and Heritage Collections are also available.
The University Library has a wide and increasing range of online collections, including over 19,500 e-journals, more than 313,000 e-books, and many other major databases. Print collections amount to over 1.637 million items. All subjects taught in the University are represented, but particular strengths include collections relating to Middle Eastern Studies, notably the Middle East Documentation Unit, as well as the European Documentation Centre, and the very considerable Special Collections, whose contents include 300 incunabula and over 100 medieval manuscripts. The Library also participates in the SCONUL Access scheme, enabling Durham University staff and students to apply to use the resources of over 180 other university libraries in the UK and Ireland to complement Durham University Library's own holdings.
Our five libraries offer extensive opening hours, including evenings and weekends. Generous borrowing privileges are also provided. Flexible spaces to work and study include both silent study and group study areas, well-equipped with wi-fi access, PCs, and laptops available for use. There is an emphasis across Durham University Library and Heritage Collections on customer focus and establishing user requirements, and increasingly on benchmarking and performance metrics to inform strategy, to ensure value for money, to facilitate ease of use of the collections, and, more and more, to develop the electronic collections in particular. A range of processes and policies designed to monitor and improve the quality of Library collections and services is being developed, and all staff are expected to participate in performance measurement and review activities and in appraisal systems.
In Durham, the Bill Bryson Library is a modern, award-winning building on the Mountjoy site housing the modern collections in all subjects except Education, and it is also the administrative centre and main library. A major extension to the building was completed in 2012 with the addition of a new East Wing. The Palace Green Library, situated on a World Heritage Site, houses a large part of the Library's Special Collections, notably, Bishop Cosin's Library and the Sudan Archive. It includes the prestigious Wolfson and Dunelm galleries, world-class exhibition facilities which hosted the Lindisfarne Gospels when they were displayed in Durham during 2013. (Other archival collections, as well as lesser-used materials, are housed at 5 The College.) Palace Green Library also became the new home in 2014 for the public archaeological displays from the Museum of Archaeology. The Oriental Museum is situated at Elvet Hill. The Leazes Road Library in the School of Education serves both members of the University and local teachers; it includes a large Teaching Resources Centre. The Business School Library in Durham University Business School supports research and education in business and management. The Queen's Campus Library provides support for the University's teaching and research operations at Stockton-on-Tees.
We invite you to enjoy and to make the most of all we have on offer.
- Collection Management Policy
- Gifts Policy
- Collecting and Preservation Policies for Special Collections
They also contain an explanation of and access to minutes of the three main Library committees, where all kinds of Library matters are discussed and policy is formulated:
See the Library History pages for information about Durham University Library's past, from the foundation of the University Library right up to its most recent developments.
Dr Christopher Skelton-Foord
Head of Policy & Planning
Durham University Library
& Heritage Collections
Bill Bryson Library