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Welcome to University Library and Collections: Home

Welcome to University Library and Collections!

Whether you are starting your University journey with us this year, returning to campus to continue your studies or completing your studies online, we are looking forward to working with you and supporting you during your time with Durham University. 

Within this guide, you'll find lots of information about accessing our libraries and study spaces and the support services we have available to you. If you're new to the Library, you can visit our Getting started with the Library guide for lots of helpful information.

Throughout the year, all services and procedures will be kept under review and revised in line with Government and University guidance to ensure we can operate safely for everyone, while still providing high levels of service to support you with your studies. Please keep an eye on University Library and Collections website and social media accounts for any updates.

Watch our video below to hear from Liz Waller, University Librarian and Director of University Library and Collections, as she welcomes you all and explains a little about what to expect from us this year.

What do we do at the Library?

We're here to support you with your learning throughout your time at Durham and to help you get the most out of the services and resources we have to offer. We provide:

  • access to our extensive collections of printed items, mediaeval manuscripts, maps, photographs, objects and artworks, as well as online resources including ebooks, ejournals and databases.

  • specialist subject support from our Faculty Librarians.  

  • access to study spaces and facilities including printing, photocopying, PCs and scanning.  

  • support and information from our friendly staff through our Virtual Enquiry Desk.

We've made some adjustments to make sure everyone is safe when visiting us, but we're committed to developing our services and continuing to support you in your studies, whether you're able to visit us in person or not.

What is available?

Our highlights 

  • We have a wide range of online resources available - you can browse over 850,000 ebooks and around 25,000 ejournals, ensuring you can access the information you need online.

  • Currently, you don’t need to book a timeslot to browse the shelves or to access individual study spaces for any of our sites. However, following feedback from students, we are offering a number of pre-bookable spaces at Bill Bryson Library - see our Study Spaces guide for more details.

  • We have also have non-bookable study spaces available at the Teaching and Learning Centre, Leazes Road Study Space and ISC Library.

  • For students who are studying online and not currently living in a DH postcode, postal loans, postal returns and scan and deliver services are available to help you access the resources you need.

  • Research access at Barker Research Library (at Palace Green Library), 5 The College, Ushaw College and Oriental Museum is available by pre-booked appointment.

  • Our Discover database enables you to search most of our library, museum and special collections in one place. You can directly access our extensive range of ejournals and ebooks and view high quality scanned images of some of the objects in our museums and archives collections. 

  • You will have an online reading list for each module. This will direct you to your essential reading and, in many cases, link directly to an electronic copy.

Is there more than one Library?

Bill Bryson Library

The Bill Bryson Library (often referred to as the Billy B) is our main University Library, and you will find a fantastic range of resources to support your studies. Staff are always on hand to help and our Virtual Enquiry Desk is available to you to contact our friendly team online.

Barker Research Library

Our Archives and Special Collections are held within the Barker Research Library, located in the historic Palace Green Library. The Library is bright and airy, making for a peaceful place to study and work.
Visit our webpages for more information.

ISC Library, Stockton

The International Study Centre (ISC) Library is for use by ISC students and staff at Queen's Campus, Stockton and can be found on level 2 of the Ebsworth Building. 

Study spaces

Not only can you study in our libraries, we also have a number of designated study spaces available across the city:

Leazes Road Study Space

Located within the main School of Education building, Leazes Road Study Space provides additional study facilities that are conveniently located for those living in the Gilesgate area and members of Hild Bede College. 

                            Teaching and Learning Centre

The Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) is a short distance from the Bill Bryson Library and provides space for independent study. Space for both individual and group study is available and you can contact our Virtual Enquiry Desk if you require any support.

Business School Study Space

                            Situated in the Durham University Business School is the Business School Study Space with a reference collection of core texts. This facility is only available to Business School students and study spaces must be pre-booked with the School. 

How can I access the Library?

Currently, you don’t need to book a timeslot to browse the shelves or for individual study spaces for any of our sites - all you'll need is your campus card. We have a mixture of bookable and non-bookable individual study spaces available at Bill Bryson Library - if you do wish to book a space, please visit our Space Bookings system.  

Visit our Borrow from us and Study Spaces guides for more information. 

Safety measures

What we're doing

The safety of our users and staff is our priority. Our current practices are in place to maintain reassurance and comfort for users and staff to ensure an enjoyable experience.

  • We’re monitoring the ventilation in our buildings to make sure it stays at a safe level.
  • We’re carrying out additional cleaning during opening hours.
  • We have hand washing facilities, sanitiser, wipes and cleaning stations available throughout our buildings.
  • We have staff on hand to support you during your visit.
  • We have Perspex screens on our Reception and Help and Information desks, but you’ll still see our welcoming staff on arrival.

What we need you to do

Please follow all our safety measures when you visit us:

  • Please wear a face covering at all times within our buildings and study spaces, including when sitting at your study desk (unless you are exempt). 
  • There are no one-way systems in place, but we are asking everyone to keep to the left where possible when moving around the building.
  • Be mindful of others - please allow space between you and others during your visit.
  • Use our handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser regularly.
  • Follow our clean as you go process - leave your study desk clear and wipe down all desks, work areas and equipment before and after use.
  • Put all rubbish in the bins provided.

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or have received a positive test result, you should self-isolate, book a Covid-19 test and inform the University - you must not visit the Library. Please visit our webpages for full details. 

See our Visiting Us guide for more information. If you have any queries, please contact our Virtual Enquiry Desk

Top tips

Plan and manage your independent study time

Planning your study time is really beneficial and can help you manage your studies and ensure you still have time for yourself. You can choose to pre-book a study space at the Bill Bryson Library or you can drop in to the Library or any of our other non-bookable study spaces whenever you have some free time. 

Develop your skills

We have a range of tutorials, videos, webinars and guides to help you to get the most out of our resources, and to develop the skills you need to succeed in your studies. Visit our webpages to find out more. 

Ask DULIb!

If you have any queries at all, please get in touch! We're here to help and to provide support in getting the most out of our resources for your studies. You can contact us through our Virtual Enquiry Desk, Ask DULib or contact your Faculty Librarian. You can speak to any member of the library team in the library and they'll point you in the right direction.

Keep up to date

Check our website regularly for news and updates to services and opening times. You can also follow us on social media, where you might even get the odd sighting of our mascot, Billy Bee... 


Getting started with the Library

New to the Library? Visit our Getting started with the Library guide for lots of helpful information and top tips!

Virtual Enquiry Desk

Contact us through our enhanced virtual enquiry desk, Ask DULib. Search our FAQs, email us, or chat with a librarian. 
Ask DULib is available to all students, staff and users.

Ask DULib, Library Help

Quick Links

Keep up to date

Keep up to date by following our library social media accounts: