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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 the 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. Currently, Durham University staff and students can book an appointment to view an item from our collections for research purposes.

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer study spaces at Barker Research Library at this time. For information on study spaces available elsewhere, please see our Study Spaces Guide.

We are really pleased to welcome researchers, however there are some changes to services and procedures in line with national regulations and University policy, to ensure that the Barker Research Library is a safe space for all. During the England-wide lockdown from Thursday 5th November, research access to the collections will be available for current Durham University staff and students only.

Opening Times and Contact Details

Access is strictly by appointment

Monday - Friday: 10am-4pm

Saturday - Sunday: Closed

Closed 19 December to 3 January

Barker Research Library

Palace Green Library 

Palace Green 


DH1 3RN 

Tel: 0191 334 2972 


Make an Appointment

If you would like to see an item from our collections please contact us to make an appointment. 

Please do not book or attend an appointment if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19), or if you have been asked to self-isolate.

Bookings for dates from 5th November can only be made by current Durham University staff and students.

Food and Drink - Important Information

Food and drink is not permitted in the Barker Research Library. There is no cafe or refreshment facilities on site. However, there are plenty of coffee shops and cafes nearby.

Keep up to date

Keep up to date via our social media:


How to access the Library

You will need to make an appointment, using our online booking form.

You will need to pre-request all the books and documents you wish to see before visiting. The online booking form will prompt you for this information.

Please submit your appointment request at least three working days in advance.

Please do not book or attend an appointment if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19), or if you have been asked to self-isolate.

During the England-wide lockdown from Thursday 5th November, only requests from current staff and students for Durham University teaching, research projects and degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate) can be accommodated.

Limited research access to the Durham Cathedral Archive and related collections at 5 The College is available on a similar basis, for which please use our 5 The College booking form.

We are not yet able to offer research access to the collections held at Ushaw College Library.

Please see our separate help page in relation to enquiries and reprographics services, if you are unable to visit in person.

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 develop any of these symptoms whilst at the Palace Green Library, you will be asked to leave.

You will need to wear a face covering at all times when you are in the building, unless you are unable to do so.

We will have social distancing and hygiene measures in place.  Please follow all the requests by staff members as they are designed to keep everyone as safe as possible.  Staff will keep a record of your visit (arrival and departure time and a contact number). This information may be passed to the NHS Test and Trace programme, if we receive a notification and request for information.   User information recorded for test and trace purposes will be kept securely for 21 days and destroyed confidentially after that time. It is managed completely separately to our normal reader registration process.

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

You will need to bring with you a face covering, your own pencil (and sharpener) and/or laptop/tablet. You can also bring into the Search Room your own notes and your own books, within reason, 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.

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

We will be operating with very reduced staffing, for your safety and ours. Please bear this in mind.  We will try and help you make the best use of your visit and to help as much as we can before you arrive.

At this stage, we do not have capacity to accommodate volunteers.

We hope to be able to welcome you back soon and thank you for your patience in the meantime.

Visit Us

All colleagues, students, visitors, contractors and members of the public are required to wear face covering inside all University buildings (unless an individual is exempt from wearing one due to a medical condition). 

All other safety measures should continue to be followed, including social distancing measures of 2 metres.

Please review the World Health Organisation’s guidance on the safe use of face coverings

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. 

Please see our Accessibility and Support Guide for further information.