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Durham University

Special Collections
Friends banner

For many Durham graduates Palace Green Library was "the University Library", before the more modern Bill Bryson Library was constructed in the early 1980s. Situated on Palace Green and part of the Durham World Heritage Site, Palace Green Library has been transformed into a very special home for the University’s internationally renowned archive and rare book collections. A redevelopment programme has created exhibition, conservation and outreach facilities that now allow the University to share many of its treasures, collected over two centuries, with the wider community whilst contributing to the research and education imperatives of the University. It has provided top of the range exhibition facilities that can now host objects of world class importance, such as the Lindisfarne Gospels, which were displayed in an extremely successful exhibition in 2013.

The various buildings that make up Palace Green Library span almost six centuries, ranging from the 1450 Exchequer Building through Bishop Cosin’s 1669 Library to the 1966 Pace Building. The buildings and collections together make Palace Green Library a unique place within the University, Durham and the North East of England.

Our Vision

Established in 2012, the Friends of Palace Green Library seeks to support the research, scholarship and outreach activities of Palace Green Library by:

  • Promoting the reputation of the Library and encouraging interest in its buildings, collections and exhibitions
  • Supporting the Library in its acquisition of rare books, manuscripts and other valuable items
  • Acting as a channel for the gift of books and manuscripts to enhance the Library’s Special Collections
  • Supporting the conservation of the Library’s unique collection of rare books and documents
  • Facilitating the learning and research mission of the Library by the organisation of scholarly activities including a lecture programme
Our Vision for the Future PDF



The next meeting will take place on Saturday 9th May 2020 at 2 pm in the Learning Centre

‘Silverfish, millennials, and endless rain: taking York Minster Library into the 21st century’.

A talk given by Sarah Griffin, York University Rare Books and Minster Librarian. Sarah will discuss the challenges of Chapters, environment, and the digital shift which affect our ancient cathedral libraries.


of the Friends of Palace Green Library brings you:

  • the opportunity to participate in an annual programme of events such as lectures, visits, displays of Special Collections material and invitations to Gallery opening events;
  • a regular newsletter containing details of recent purchases made possible by the Friends, announcements and reports on Friends activities and news about the Library generally;
  • a chance to contribute to the work of Palace Green Library and support its collections; and
  • 10% discount on all purchases from the Palace Green Library shop

Annual Membership

for 1 October to 30 September

Single £20

Joint (two people at one address) £30

Life membership £500

Membership leaflets are available here PDF, at the University Libraries, or by contacting us directly.

Online Payments

can be made at

Please select 'Other' from the dropdown box in the What Cause Would You Like to Support? section.

Type 'Friends of Palace Green Library Single/Joint/Life Membership' (as appropriate) in the box that appears below the dropdown box.

Choose Donation Amount 'Other' and type the amount [20, 30 or 500] for the membership type you have chosen.

Under Specifically For, please retype 'Friends of Palace Green Library Single/Joint/Life Membership', as appropriate.

Contact Us

Friends of Palace Green Library
Durham University
Palace Green Library
Palace Green
Durham DH1 3RN
tel: 0191 334 2932