Durham University Library

Durham University logo

Durham University Library

Durham University Library provides an excellent range of collections, resources, and flexible study spaces across five library locations and online. The University Library is always busy; almost 3.5 million e-book accesses, more than 3.1 million e-journal downloads, and over 630,000 borrowing and renewals transactions were made during the 2015-2016 academic year. More key annual data for the Library are also available.

The University Library has a wide and increasing range of online collections, including over 19,500 e-journals, more than 403,500 e-books, and other major databases. Print collections amount to about 1.65 million items. All subjects taught in the University are represented, but particular strengths include collections relating to Middle Eastern Studies, notably the Middle East Documentation Unit, as well as the European Documentation Centre, and the Meissen Library Collection of German-language theological materials. The Library participates in the SCONUL Access scheme, enabling Durham University staff and students to apply to use the resources of around 180 other university libraries in the UK and Ireland to complement Durham University Library’s own holdings. Durham University also has very considerable Special Collections, whose contents of archives and artefacts, early printed books, maps, prints, and photographs include 300 incunabula and over 100 medieval manuscripts.

Our libraries offer extensive opening hours, including evenings and weekends. Generous borrowing privileges are also provided. Flexible spaces to work and study include both silent study and group study areas, well-equipped with wi-fi access, PCs, and laptops available for use. Over 2,000 study spaces are currently provided. There is an emphasis across Durham University Library on customer focus and establishing service-user requirements, and increasingly on benchmarking and performance metrics to inform strategy, to ensure value for money, to facilitate ease of use of the collections, and, more and more, to develop the electronic collections in particular. A range of processes and policies designed to monitor and improve the quality of Library collections and services is being developed, and all staff are expected to participate in performance measurement and review activities and in appraisal systems. A summary of feedback and the Library’s responses is available in the wake of the Library’s most recent large-scale, service-user survey, carried out in Michaelmas 2015.