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Special Collections

Special Collections

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

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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 pound 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 July 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

May Day
Saturday 29th April 2017 - Sunday 30th April 2017, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Colourful Ceramics
Saturday 6th May 2017 - Sunday 7th May 2017, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Little Bookworms
Monday 8th May 2017, 10:30am - 11:30am, Palace Green Library
Coats of arms
Saturday 13th May 2017 - Sunday 14th May 2017, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Little Bookworms
Monday 15th May 2017, 10:30am - 11:30am, Palace Green Library
Lucet Weaving
Saturday 20th May 2017 - Sunday 21st May 2017, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library
Little Bookworms
Monday 22nd May 2017, 10:30am - 11:30am, Palace Green Library
Time Machines: the past, the future, and how stories take us there
Saturday 27th May 2017 - Sunday 28th May 2017, 10:00am - 11:59pm, Palace Green Library
Fun Flags
Saturday 27th May 2017 - Sunday 28th May 2017, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, Palace Green Library

Time Machines: the past, the future, and how stories take us there

Exhibition logo: Time Machines: the past, the future, and how stories take us there

Palace Green Library, 27 May - 3 September 2017

How big is time? And what will the future be like?

The sheer enormity of time is a mind-bending concept - one which humans have always tried to measure and understand. Step through a portal and journey through time as we reveal how advances in science allowed authors to create stories that transport us to the distant past, parallel universes, and future worlds.

See H.G. Wells’s original manuscript for The Time Machine, unravel other stories which play with time, and find out how stories help us to make sense of time and our place within it.

(22 Mar 2017)



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