Durham University Library and Collections

We understand that the Library is not just a storehouse of books. At Durham University Library and Collections, we are able to provide you a safe space to study with others, work on your own, or get some help with your studies.



Here at Durham, we know that the Library is important to students who might want a place to meet friends to study, or a quiet space to work or just to get away from the demands of student life. At Durham we also have specialist Faculty Librarians who can help you get the most out of your studies by helping you find the resources you need. We can also support your academic studies with training on research skills, relevant software packages and referencing tools.

Our resources are diverse and varied. Our physical space has shelves of books like any other library, but you can also find a lot of our content online. Your module teaching team will be able to point you in the direction of the essential material you need for your course. If you would like assistance from the Library with this, we have staff on site ready to help.

You can also manage your library account online, so if you need to renew or reserve a book currently out on loan you can do this from your own computer, whether you are on campus or not. If you’d prefer to talk to someone about your account, our Help and Information Desk is next to the Bill Bryson Library entrance, so you don’t have to go far to find a member of staff.

Please bear in mind that while most facilities are available to all students, to access some of the support mentioned below you will need to be registered with Disability Support. For more information on the services and facilities the Library can provide students and staff with disabilities, please visit the Library webpages here: www.dur.ac.uk/library/disabled/services/

How could this affect me?

Durham University has 5 libraries: Bill Bryson Library, Palace Green Library, Leazes Road Library (Education), Business School and Ushaw College. You can use any of the first three (Bill Bryson, Palace Green, Leazes Road) for study purposes. For more information on the accessibility of each please visit www.dur.ac.uk/library/disabled/physical_access/ . The Business School Library and Ushaw College are only accessible to certain individuals (e.g. Business staff and students).There are different types of study spaces across each site so if you would like quieter study or a place for collaborative

work, there’s an area for everybody. At the Bill Bryson and Leazes Road Libraries there are bookable group study rooms and the Bill Bryson Library also has an open collaborative area on Level 1. This area tends to be brighter and noisier than the others. We also have bookable silent study rooms for individuals and with room for two people if you are studying quietly with a friend or support worker. We also have 4 Disability Support study rooms on L1 of the Bill Bryson Library which are equipped with specialist equipment and software to support your studies. They are not always entirely silent, but they are not noisy either. This link tells you more about these rooms www.dur.ac.uk/library/disabled/services/studyrooms/

Our CIS Team (Computing and Information Services) also keep a live webpage of which computers are available for use across campus so you can always find a free computer for your work.

Face to Face Support

If you would like help from any of the Library and Collections team, please let us know.

Faculty Librarian – there are really useful subject guides on the Library website that link to lots of relevant information and these also have a picture and contact details for the librarian for that subject. Your Faculty Librarian knows all the best resources for your subject area and you can make an appointment to chat to them one-to-one.

Help and Information Desk – this is a desk near the entrance of each library where you can ask for help with your library account, to ask for directions to your chosen resources, for help with study room bookings or anything else Library-related you might need.

Library Disability Support Team  –  the Library has a dedicated team ready to support students and staff with Library-related concerns, queries or requests around accessibility. Please let them know if you would like their support by contacting the team here. The Library DS Team aim to get back to all enquiries within 24 hours during the working week.

CIS (Computing and Information Services) – If you have any computing or printing-related queries on campus, we are lucky to have a CIS Helpdesk on site with us in the entranceway to the Bill Bryson Library. You don’t need your campus card to access the CIS Helpdesk (like you do the rest of the Library) but we advise you carry it at all times. You can find out more about their services and contact details for CIS here.

Accessing support online and by phone

The subject guides are very useful, but sometimes you may have a more specific query or a technical problem. The Help and Information Desk is staffed during the day and most evenings, but out of hours or when you don’t really want to talk to a person face-to-face, you can get library help via phone, email and online chat. Details are here.

 Managing your library account – and uni life – online

DUO isn’t just for keeping up with your coursework and timetable. The Library tab at the top has lots of useful information and a link to your library account so you can renew and reserve items and access your reading lists. You can even search the Library’s online resources from there, even on your phone.

What to do next?

Make arrangements to visit the library to find out what is on offer

Practical tips

That’s a lot of information! Where should I start?

Our best advice for where to start is visit us! You can do this either online through our webpages, or in person if you can. Familiarising yourself with the library environment and resources for your course can really help when you start your studies in more depth. You can visit the main library (Bill Bryson Library) as a visitor before you enrol on your course and you may also bring a friend, parent or sibling with you if you like. If you visit us before you are enrolled on your course, please make sure you and any accompanying people bring photographic ID (a passport, bus pass or a driving licence is fine!) Once in the library, staff can provide you with library maps and directions for the things you might like to see. Just ask us in person (or in advance over email, if you prefer). Once you are enrolled on your course, you may also request a tour. We can do this on a one-to-one basis if you wish, or we also offer Group Tours for new members of the University.

We can also organise tours for students who might like to visit the library during Summer vacation when it is less noisy and busy. If you would like to access tours designed with these needs in mind, please speak with Disability Support here.

Additional information and links

Article compiled by Katie Skellett, Durham University Library and Collections