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Special Collections

Special Collections

Image of Barker Research Library Search Room
Designated as an Outstanding Collection logo

Founded in 1833 and occupying listed buildings within the Durham World Heritage site, Durham University's Palace Green Library houses archives, early printed books and other special collections. These include:

  • Over 70,000 books printed before 1850 including 300 incunables
  • Over 100 medieval manuscripts
  • 3,400 metres of archives and artefacts
  • Over 30,000 maps and prints and 100,000 photographs

We are open to anyone needing to consult our collections once they have registered with us. Registration here involves completing a form, providing proofs of identity and agreeing to abide by the Library's rules (please contact us if you require further information on this)

Two of the University Library's special collections were awarded Designated status in 2005 in the first round of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council Designation Scheme.


Restricted access to books in Bishop Cosin’s Library, 2016-17

During the academic year 2016-17 Durham University is undertaking a refurbishment project in the Exchequer Buildings within Palace Green Library. This work is a continuation of the multi-£million programme of work at Palace Green Library. It will restore and refurbish the medieval Exchequer Building and enable greater public access in future, via guided tours. It will however, also place severe restrictions on access to the adjacent Bishop Cosin’s Library.

It will not be possible to retrieve books in response to research requests between 1st September 2016 and completion of the works, anticipated to be sometime in April 2017.

Collections affected are:

Please note that Cosin Letter Books and Cosin manuscripts are not affected by these access restrictions as they are permanently located elsewhere within Palace Green Library.

In order to enable some access to material during this period and to minimise the impact on researchers, we can make arrangements to relocate individual volumes where there is a need for access to copy-specific items.

We request that any researchers seeking access to material contact us before 26th August 2016, with information about the individual volume(s) they wish to access and the reasons for their need for access to specific copy/ies.

For requests or any queries, please contact Judy Burg, Head of Archives and Special Collections, Palace Green Library, judy.burg@durham.ac.uk

Somme 1916: From Durham to the Western Front
Friday 27th May 2016 - Sunday 26th June 2016, 12:00am - 11:59pm, Palace Green Library
Funky Photographs
Saturday 28th May 2016 - Sunday 29th May 2016, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Book Club
Tuesday 31st May 2016, 5:00pm - 6:00pm, Palace Green Library
Thomas Browne and the Silent Text
Tuesday 31st May 2016, 5:30pm, Learning Centre, Professor Jessica Wolfe (University of North Carolina)
Magnificent Marbling
Saturday 4th June 2016 - Sunday 5th June 2016, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Little Bookworms
Monday 6th June 2016, 10:30am - 11:30am, Wolfson Gallery
Art, War and Samurai Sociability in Sixteenth-Century Japan
Tuesday 7th June 2016, 5:30pm, Learning Centre, Dr Morgan Pitelka
Understanding the Yemeni crisis: the changing role of tribes and others
Thursday 9th June 2016, 12:00pm, Sir James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College, Helen Lackner
Making Military Models
Saturday 11th June 2016, 10:00am - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Perfect Planes
Sunday 12th June 2016, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Little Bookworms
Monday 13th June 2016, 10:30am - 11:30am, Wolfson Gallery
Father’s Day
Saturday 18th June 2016 - Sunday 19th June 2016, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Little Bookworms
Monday 20th June 2016, 10:30am - 11:30am, Wolfson Gallery
Somme 1916: Talks Programme
Monday 20th June 2016, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, Palace Green Library
Stunning stained glass
Saturday 25th June 2016 - Sunday 26th June 2016, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library

Understanding the Yemeni crisis: the changing role of tribes and others

Image of Helen Lackner (2016 Sir William Luce Fellow)

The 2016 Sir William Luce public lecture will be delivered by Yemen specialist Helen Lackner in the Sir James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College on Thursday 9th June 2016 at 12.00 pm.

The Luce lectures and their accompanying published papers commemorate the long and distinguished career of Sir William Luce GBE, KCMG, DL (1907-1977) in the Middle East during the era of the transfer of power.

(1 May 2016)


Somme 1916: from Durham to the Western Front

Banner image: Somme 1916 exhibition at Palace Green Library, Durham University 25 March-2 October 2016

Palace Green Library, 25 March–2 October 2016

100 years on, this commemorative exhibition will explore the reality of the Battle of the Somme through the eyes of the people from County Durham who were there.

(9 Mar 2016) » Find out more about: Somme 1916: from Durham to the Western Front


Cathedral Library antiquarian and music collections

The cathedral library's music and antiquarian collections, (Surtees, Raine, Randall, Allan, Longstaffe, Sharp, Hunter), have now been returned from Palace Green Library to the cathedral's care, and consequently will no longer be available for consultation in the Barker Research Library. News on when they will again become available for research purposes will be published on the cathedral library's website.

(16 Feb 2016)


North East England Tourism Awards 2015

On Tuesday 24 November 2015, our summer exhibition, Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt snapped up two awards at the North East England Tourism Awards 2015.

(9 Dec 2015) » Find out more about: North East England Tourism Awards 2015



access information

Contact details

Special Collections
Palace Green Library
Palace Green
DURHAM
DH1 3RN
United Kingdom
Tel
: +44 (0)191 334 2972
Email: pg.library@durham.ac.uk