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Archives and Special Collections: Visiting us in person


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Research access to the collections

On-site access to the Archives and Special Collections is available for both members of Durham University and external researchers. 

Due to essential works, there will be a period of restricted access to Barker Research Library throughout April and May. Details of opening times can be found within our Library Sites guide.

Please use our contact form to book an appointment.  All visits during April and May must be booked in advance, and access to some of our collections will  not be available during this period.  Please give three working days notice for appointments and include a full list of document references or shelfmarks so that we can best enable your research access.

This restricted access will also affect availability of our Virtual Search Room and copying service. To discuss potential alternative access, please complete our enquiry form.

For further information on our sites and services, see the guide to University Library and Collections and Partner Library sites:

If you have arranged or been given a specific arrival time, please arrive as close to that time as possible. 

Please do not visit if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, if you are awaiting a test result or if you have been asked to self-isolate. If you develop any of these symptoms whilst on-site, please let staff on duty know and leave the building.

Search room rules are displayed on site, as well as guidelines for users.

You can bring into the Search Room your own notes and your own books, within reason, a laptop/tablet, and can use silent, hand-held cameras or 'phones to photograph most material, on request. There are lockers available for coats and bags. Food and drink are not permitted in the building.  Due to increased ventilation, our buildings may be cooler than usual during the winter months.

Wifi is normally available for members of the University or those registered with Eduroam, and as a self-registering public service.

Further information for visiting Palace Green Library

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.