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Durham Cathedral Library

Scroll down the page to find out about our opening times and collections.

Explore online

See over 200 digitised medieval manuscripts from Durham's monastic library. Discover the Priory Library Project here.

Explore our library catalogues online, and learn more about our collections through the links below.

Serving the public and the world’s scholarly community

Our library can trace its origins to the library of the monastery founded at Lindisfarne by St Aidan in 635 AD.

It is the most complete in situ medieval monastic library in the UK.

Library opening hours and access

Modern Book Collections – Sharp & Chapter Library

From Monday, 6th June, Sharp Library reading room in the Monk’s Dormitory will re-open three days a week for readers to stay, study, read, and borrow from our modern book collections, the Sharp and Chapter libraries.

Opening times

Mondays to Wednesdays, 10am–4pm (lunchtime closure 1–2pm, last admission 3.30pm).

Days and times may vary. Study spaces are offered on a first come, first served basis. The library may need to close at short notice depending on staffing availability.

Please note that the Sharp Library will close for summer university congregations and an exhibition changeover between Monday 27 June and Monday 11 July. It will reopen on Tuesday 12 July.

How to find us

Head to Durham Cathedral Museum and ask at the Exhibition Desk to use the Sharp Library. Have your Cathedral Reader card or Durham University campus ID card ready to be let in.

Who can use the library?

University students, staff, and Cathedral Readers are all welcome. Find out more information about joining as a Cathedral Reader.

Any other questions?

If you have any questions or would like to know more, email library@durhamcathedral.co.uk and we will be happy to help you.

Special Collections appointments

Access to our special collections can be made by appointment on Thursdays and Fridays only.

Please contact us by email to discuss your request with the Assistant Librarian. See below for contact details.

Medieval Manuscripts

Viewings of our manuscripts for scholarly research purposes currently take place in the Barker Research Library, Palace Green Library, Durham University.  

Many of our manuscripts have also been digitised as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated Project. When complete, all the manuscripts and early printed books that formed the original Priory collection will be available online. See what has currently been digitised via the Durham Priory Library Recreated website.

How to make an appointment

For all library and special collections enquiries, including manuscripts, please contact us by email at library@durhamcathedral.co.uk in the first instance, or by telephone (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) on 0191 386 2489. 

Further information on Palace Green Library for medieval manuscript viewings can be found on their website

Public displays

We regularly run public events where we display amazing items from our special collections. Check our What’s On page.