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Durham University

Special Collections

Using Special Collections

Researcher access during the Covid-19 pandemic

Please see our webpage on making an appointment and use the online booking form to request researcher access at Palace Green Library.

You will be assigned a desk, and also a locker if you need one.

Before you enter or re-enter the Search Room we will ask that you wash your hands each time. Please do not use hand sanitiser on arriving, or bring it into the Search Room as it could harm books or documents. There are toilets across the hall from the Search Room which can be used for washing hands.

The material which you have requested, along with any rests or cushions, will be set up for you in the Search Room before you take your seat. Please help the staff to maintain social distancing during your visit. When you leave the Search Room, please leave all material and rests on the desk.

Desks are cleaned at the beginning of each day. Items from the collection, and also rests and cushions, are quarantined for 72 hours after use by a researcher.

This also applies to any items for which copies have been requested. This means that there will be a period of at least 3 days before copies can be provided from items consulted.

Guidance on handling material

All readers are asked to help preserve the items produced for their use by handling them very carefully.

  • When an item is in use, please place it on a bookrest or flat on the table. If necessary, use paper-weights, weighted chains, or sheets of perspex to hold it down; staff can supply these. Take special care that items do not hang over the edge of the table.
  • Do not mark items in any way nor make erasures of any kind. Ink may not be used and bottles of ink, food, drink, and other potentially harmful substances must not be brought into the search-room. Only pencils may be used for writing.
  • The surface of items should not be touched except when unavoidable. Please do not lean on items, rest anything on them, pile one open book on another, or place open volumes face down. Permission must be asked to make tracings.
  • Loose documents must be kept in the precise order in which they were issued. Do not remove items from files. Be careful not to obscure reference numbers when refolding or repacking items. Close one file or box before another is opened.
  • Please avoid placing strain on bindings, which are often fragile. If you receive a book tied up with tape, please replace the tape when you have finished with the book.
  • If you receive a book with uncut pages, ask staff to cut the pages for you. Do not try to open it yourself.
  • Tell staff about any damage which you discover in items you are using.
  • When in doubt on any point, please ask the staff for advice.

Contact details

Special Collections
Palace Green Library
Palace Green
United Kingdom
: +44 (0)191 334 2972