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Our services: Libraries and site information: Barker Research Library, Palace Green

An overview of our libraries

Durham University's Archives and Special Collections are held within Barker Research Library, located in the historic Palace Green Library complex on Durham’s World Heritage Site. The Library is bright and airy, making for a peaceful place to study and work. 

All the material held here is for reference use only. Access is available for those using the collections. 

For more information on our collections, please see the Archives and Special Collections guide.

Opening Times and Contact Details

Normal opening times (Search Room and Study Spaces):

  • Monday - Friday: 10am-5pm
  • Saturday - Sunday: Closed

For research access to the Archives and Special Collections, please use our online enquiry form to make an appointment.

The Search room will be closed on the following dates:

  • Friday 27 October (open 2-5pm)
  • Friday 3 November (open 2-5pm)
  • Thursday 9 November (closed all day)
  • Friday 10 November (open 2-5pm)
  • Friday 17 November (closed all day)
  • Friday 24 November (open 2-5pm)

Study spaces will remain open on the above dates, subject to some disruption during the all day closures.

Opening over the Christmas and New Year period is as follows, see also the Study Spaces guide and separate information for Cosin's Library, World Heritage Site Visitor Centre and Museum of Archaeology.

  Search room Study spaces
22 December closed 10am-5pm
25 December closed closed
26 December closed closed
27 December closed 11am-4pm
28 December closed 11am-4pm
29 December closed 11am-4pm
1 January closed closed


Barker Research Library

Palace Green Library 

Palace Green 


DH1 3RN 

Tel: 0191 334 2276   

Online enquiry form

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You can get in touch through our live chat service or by email, and search our FAQs for answers to your questions.

Ask us anything about Library and Collections

How to access the Library

A number of non-bookable, individual study spaces are available in the Barker Research Library for silent study.

Please be aware that due to the nature of the collections within the library, no food or drink is allowed. 

For information on study spaces available elsewhere across campus, please see our Study Spaces Guide.

On-site access to the Archives and Special Collections is available for members of Durham University and external researchers.  Please use our online enquiry form to plan your visit with us.

Please see our separate guides to reprographics services and to accessing the collections virtually, if you are unable to visit in person.

Our exhibition galleries, including the Museum of Archaeology, are now open with free entry to visitors. Please note, due to capacity restrictions within the galleries, there may be a short wait during busier times. If you wish to access the collections for research purposes, please contact us to make an appointment.

Cosin’s Library is now open to the public after being closed for several years to carry out essential conservation work. Having now been completed, the library and its collections are now more accessible and enjoyable than ever before.  Please visit Palace Green Library Exhibitions : Your Visit - Durham University for more information and to pre-book a timeslot.

We continue to develop new online exhibitions, events and learning resources for users to engage with from anywhere in the world.

Visit Us

To help us protect our collections housed at Palace Green Library, food and drinks are not permitted in the Barker Research Library. There is no cafe or refreshment facilities on site - however, there are coffee shops and cafes nearby.

By foot from Durham Market Place
  • This is a walk of 0.2 miles or an approximate 5 minutes.
  • Head in the direction of Saddler Street, passing a fish and chip shop on your right-hand side. 
  • The road will divide, stay to the right and walk up the hill. 
  • Continue until you reach Owengate on your right-hand side and take this cobbled street.
  • You will now be on Palace Green, follow the path around to your right and Palace Green Library will be in front of you, between the Castle and Cathedral.  
Arriving by public transport
  • If you arrive in Durham by train or bus, the easiest and most convenient way to reach Palace Green Library is by using the Cathedral Bus which stops directly outside Palace Green Library.  
  • This bus stops in the Market Place, in front of the Boots store. If you have parked in the Prince Bishops Shopping Centre car park, walk straight ahead through the shopping centre from the cark park and you will come to this bus stop on your left as you enter the Market Place. 
There is no parking available at Palace Green Library. Parking is available within a 5-10 minute walk of Palace Green Library.  
Walking from Prince Bishops Shopping Centre 
  • From the car park, exit via the pedestrian access route to Prince Bishops Shopping Centre. Turn left and walk through the Shopping Centre until you reach Saddler Street. 
  • Turn left onto Saddler Street and follow the road as it heads up hill.  Take the first turn on the right into Owengate. Owengate leads onto Palace Green, the Durham UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
  • Follow the path around to your right and Palace Green Library will be in front of you, between the Castle and Cathedral. 

The University welcomes the use of face coverings in shared indoor spaces on campus. If you are feeling unwell, please stay at home and try to avoid contact with people. Please visit the University webpages for more details.

Please see our Accessibility and Support Guide for further information.