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Durham University

University Library

About the University Library

Durham University Library provides an excellent range of collections, resources, and flexible study spaces across five library locations and online. The University Library is always busy; approaching 3.5 million e-book accesses, more than 3.4 million e-journal downloads, and over 300,000 loans were made during the 2016-2017 academic year. More key annual data for the Library are also available.

The University Library has a wide and increasing range of online collections, including around 19,500 e-journals, approaching 415,000 e-books, and other major databases. Print collections amount to about 1.63 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 Meissen Library Collection of German-language theological materials. The Library participates in the SCONUL Access scheme, enabling Durham University staff and students to apply to use the resources of around 190 other university libraries in the UK and Ireland to complement Durham University Library's own holdings. Durham University also has very considerable Special Collections, whose contents of archives and artefacts, early printed books, maps, prints, and photographs include 300 incunabula and over 100 medieval manuscripts.

Our 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. Approaching 2,300 study spaces are currently provided. There is an emphasis across Durham University Library on customer focus and establishing service-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. A summary of feedback and the Library's responses is available in the wake of the University Library's most recent large-scale, service-user survey, carried out in Michaelmas 2015; a full report for the Library is also available.

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. Situated close to the College of St Hild and St Bede, 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 ISC Library at Queen's Campus provides support for the programmes delivered by the International Study Centre at Stockton-on-Tees. (A staffed library service is also provided at Ushaw College Library, situated five miles from Durham city centre, and home to significant archive and rare book collections: further information about Ushaw is available via its own website.) The Palace Green Library, situated on a World Heritage Site, houses a large part of the University Library's Special Collections, notably, Bishop Cosin's Library and the Sudan Archive. It includes the Wolfson and Dennyson Stoddart 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, the only one in the north of England devoted to the art and archaeology of Northern Africa and Asia, is situated at Elvet Hill, close to the University's 'Hill Colleges'.

We invite you to enjoy and to make the most of all we have on offer.

These pages also provide access to the University Library's Regulations, Strategy, and Policy documents, including:

They also contain an explanation of the main Library committees, where all kinds of Library matters are discussed and policy is formulated, including:

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.

Bill Bryson Library, Durham University Library

Contact Details

Mr Mike Wall
Deputy University Librarian

Bill Bryson Library
Stockton Road

Please Note

Information on this page relates to the 2019-20 academic year