Visit the Library

Our library spaces and collections are used by readers and researchers from around the world.

Find out about our library spaces, our opening times, and where to find us.

Our Library Spaces

Sharp Library

Our modern library collection and study space.

Open Monday to Wednesday, 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm.

Barker Reading Room

Our search room for rare books and special collections.

Open Thursday and Friday, to arrange an appointment email 

Upcoming closures

  • Monday 6th May - Bank Holiday closure.
  • Wednesday 8th May - the Sharp Library will open at the later time of 11am due to a staff meeting.
  • Monday 27th May - Bank Holiday closure.
  • Week commencing 24th June - both services will close whilst our new museum exhibition, Glorious Gospels, is installed.
  • Week commencing 1st July - both services will close as the Cathedral hosts Durham University graduation ceremonies.
  • Week commencing 26th August - both services will close due to staff annual leave.

We apologise for any inconvenience. If you have any questions please email and the Library and Collections team will get back to you.

The Sharp Library

The Sharp Library is our modern lending library and study space. Stay, study, read, browse, and borrow here.

  • Durham University students and staff can use the library and borrow from us with a Campus Card.
  • There are only a small number of study spaces which are available on a first come, first served basis, so arrive early to guarantee a seat.
  • Wifi is available in this space.

Anyone can join us to use the library and borrow from us by joining as a Cathedral Library Reader.

The library may need to close at short notice due to staffing availability. If you are travelling to reach us, you may want to email to confirm we'll be open.

The Sharp Library is located in the cathedral's museum and has step-free access. Read more about accessibility in the museum spaces below.

Download a guide to visiting the Sharp Library (pdf)

The Barker Reading Room

The Barker Reading Room is where research appointments for researchers using our rare books and special collections take place.

Contact us by email to book an appointment or make an enquiry:

  • Please give two working days notice to arrange an appointment
  • There is very limited capacity in the Barker Reading Room, so we may not be able to meet all requests at busy times
  • The Barker Reading Room is located in the Cathedral Museum and has step-free access.
Download a guide to appointments at the Barker Reading Room (pdf)

Accessing archives and medieval manuscripts

Our medieval manuscripts and incunables (books printed before 1500) are kept a stone's throw from the cathedral at Palace Green Library, part of Durham University's Archives and Special Collections.

Researchers wishing to see items for the first time should first make a request to the Cathedral Library. If your request is possible, you will then need to arrange an appointment at Palace Green Library.

The archives of Durham Cathedral are held at 5 The College, close by the cathedral. Requests to access these materials should be made to Durham University's Library and Collections team. More detail on the cathedral's collections at 5 The College and how to access them is available here.