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Department of Physics

Library facilities

University library

The University Library automatically stocks the items in the textbook lists for each module. These lists make use of the following categorisation system:

  • Required Reading
  • Additional Reading

Items identified as Required Reading will often be available for short loan and/or for 3-day loan. You are encouraged to consider purchasing your own copies of these books. Items in Additional Reading will be provided in the long loan category.

Prior to 2011, a slightly different categorisation system was used:
E - Essential Reading
R - Recommended Reading
B - Background Reading

We welcome suggestions for other useful physics texts related to lecture courses and projects. Please make such recommendations via the Department's Library Representative, Dr Celine Boehm. All books purchased will be held in the Main University Library.

Further information about reading lists is available at

Use of other university libraries

Members of Durham University are normally allowed access to academic libraries across the UK and Ireland as part of an access agreement called SCONUL Access. This means you could use a local academic library in your home town for study during the vacation, or, if you are on a distance-learning course, borrow from a local library rather having to make a trip to Durham, for example. To make use of this service, you need to apply in advance.

More information about using other libraries

Sir James Knott Room

The Sir James Knott Room (Room 132, on the first floor of the Rochester Building) is open during term time from 9.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m. and provides a place of study within the Department for your use.  Please respect the right of others to work in quietness.  The Room contains a collection of texts of use to undergraduates, but this library is not maintained as a current reference source. It is also occasionally used for departmental meetings and other activities, during which times it is unavailable for use as private study space.