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Durham University

St John's College

Library and study space


The Sir William Leech Library has an excellent stock of around 27,000 books, which includes a particularly fine theology collection. The library occupies the first and second floors of our purpose-built Learning Resource Centre (LRC), which can be found next to the college chapel. Library users will need to swipe their campus card to gain access to the LRC. There are CCTV cameras and a book security system in operation.

Students and staff of St John’s College are entitled to use the library study space and borrow books. Due to precautions related to COVID-19, the option to join the library as a paid subscription member is currently suspended.

Using the Library

The College Library is currently open 9am - 7.30pm every day for booked visits only.

Face coverings must be worn at all times in the library, including while seated at a desk (unless you are exempt).

Library staff will usually be in the library 9am-12.30pm on weekdays, apart from Wednesdays when staff will be in 1.30-5pm. Email support is generally available 9am-4.30pm on weekdays.

Please watch our library video tour for an overview of how library services are currently working.

(Amendment to video: all library access is now bookable, including printer use)

The following services are available:

Book borrowing

  • Searching for books

The library catalogue is fully searchable online. Select St John’s College from the drop-down menu to limit your search results to our library.

  • Click and Collect

If you know what book you need, please search the catalogue to check that it is available and then place a request using our click and collect form. Requested books will be loaned to your account and left in named bags in the LRC lobby for collection. Please leave 2 full working days before coming to collect your books. For reassurance, you can also login to your library account and check that the book has been loaned to you before travelling to collect it.

  • Browse and Borrow

If you want to visit the library in person, please book a browse and borrow slot. This will enable you to browse the shelves, select books and borrow them on the self-issue machine.

Please note that book recalls are currently suspended due to the national lockdown. Please return books as soon as possible to keep them circulating.

Support with Finding Online Resources

Online resources such as ebooks and journal articles are available via the Bill Bryson Library website by searching Discover.

Video guides and tutorials on how to find online resources and research effectively can be found on the Bill Bryson Library website . Help is also available via their library help service.

Melissa and Laura are also happy to offer support via email or zoom. Please email if we can help.

Book returns

Please place returned books in the library postbox in the LRC lobby.

If you are already in the library for another reason, you can also place returned books in the box next to the self-issue machine.

There will be a delay in returned books being removed from your account as they must be quarantined before processing.

We are happy to receive books by post to the main College address, but are not normally able to contribute to the cost of this. You are also able to renew your books and return them when back in Durham.

Computer use

There are 7 computers available to book for 2 hour sessions. Please make sure you book your session before visiting to use a computer. Computers are locacted on the lower floor of the main library area.

Please make sure you sit at the specific computer allocated during your booking.

During your computer session you are also able to browse the library and borrow books on the self-issue machine.

Printer and photocopier use

The printer is in the room marked study space on the lower floor of the library. All library access is now bookable, so if you need to use the printer please book a 'browse and borrow' session. If you are wanting to print from a library computer, you will need to book a computer session.

Study Space

9 bookable, 2 metre spaced study desks with power are available on the upper floor of the library. Please book a 2 hour study session if you want to make sure you can study in the library.

Please make sure you sit at the specific desk allocated during your booking.

There is no free access study space available, all study spaces need to be booked.

Safety precautions during the COVID-19 period

We ask that library users:

  • Do not enter the library when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Use hand sanitizer provided, wear a face covering (unless you are exempt) and keep 2 metres away from other people.

  • Wipe down desks, computers, the printer and the self-issue machine before and after use with the antibacterial wipes provided.

  • Place books used in the library but not borrowed into the quarantine boxes.

  • Only attend the library for a booked session.

  • Pay attention to any safety notices displayed in the library.

Further help and information

  • Call 0191 3343891 during staffed hours to speak to Melissa or Laura.


Contact us

College Librarian

Melissa Campey

St John's College 

3 South Bailey 



T: 0191 334 3891 

St John's College, Durham is a recognised College of Durham University and incorporates Cranmer Hall. Charity No. 1141701 Limited Company No. 113496 (England and Wales) VAT No. 334 6364 57.