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Information for Visitors

People visiting the Bill Bryson Library

Currently, we are still operating at restricted capacities and unfortunately are unable to welcome visitors at this time 

Academic visitors - SCONUL Access
Reference Readers and Subscription Borrowers
Durham Alumni 
Retired staff and Emeritus professors
Teachers in schools in partnership with the School of Education
Teachers arranging a visit with a group of students
Corporate members
Common Awards Students
Online access for visitors

Day visitors should be over 18 years old. Please speak to a member of staff on arrival at the Help and Information Desk, where you will be asked to complete a short sign-in form and present photo ID. This could be: 

  • Driving Licence 
  • Passport and a utility bill for proof of address 

The University Library can offer the provision of a limited range of online resources to day visitors via our designated visitor PCs.Please ask at the Help and Information Desk at the Bill Bryson Library to register for this service and to obtain your password (valid on the day of issue only). 

If you are a regular visitor, you can register as a Reference Reader to get a campus card free of charge. Please enquire by contacted our Virtual Enquiry Desk. 

Academic visitors- SCONUL Access 

Staff and students from other universities can usually use our libraries as SCONUL Access visitors. Check the list of SCONUL Access member libraries to ensure your institution participates before applying through the SCONUL Access website. Academic visitors from other universities will need to show their valid university ID.  

As a SCONUL Access visitor, you many borrow up to seven items if you are a:  

  • Member of staff 
  • Research student 
  • Full-time postgraduatestudent 
  • Part-timestudent 
  • Distance learner 
  • Placement student  

Full-time undergraduates are unable to borrow as SCONUL Access visitors but may still apply to have reference-only access.  

Reference Readers and Subscription Borrowers  

If you are not a member of the University and wish to borrow books from the Library, you can register as a Subscription Borrower. Please enquire at the Help and Information Desk or contact our Virtual Enquiry Desk for the application form.  

Subscription Borrowers can borrow up to seven items. The subscription cost is £56 for six months, or £88 for a year.   

Durham Alumni

Members of Durham Alumni (Dunelm) can access the Library and JSTOR access is available. For more information, or to register, see the Dunelm web pages. 

Retired staff and Emeritus professors  

Retired staff and Emeritus professors are entitled to visitor access and staff borrowing privileges. You can apply through DURSA orby contacting the Virtual Enquiry Desk. 

Teachers in schools in partnership with the School of Education 

Teachers can apply for borrowing privileges and a visitor card – please contact the Virtual Enquiry Desk. 

Teachers arranging a visit with a group of students 

If you are a teacher and want to bring a group of students to visit the Bill Bryson Library, please visit our Learn webpages and contact us in advance. Year 12 and Year 13 students need to attend an induction programme and will not be allowed unsupervised entry during October, April and May due to heavier student demand. 

Corporate members 

Local business, educational or charitable organisations who wish more than one person to become members of the Library can apply for corporate membership(Please note, there may be a charge for membership). 

To apply, please contact the Virtual Enquiry Desk. Once an application is approved, your organisation will be invoiced. After payment has been received, named members will be issued with Campus Cards. 

Common Awards Students

Students on Common Awards (CA) programmes at Theological Education Institutions (TEIs) can request a Durham campus card. The campus card allows you to enter Durham University Library and borrow up to 20 books. 

Common Awards students have a similar status to Durham University full-time or part-time students, and they are not classified as distance-learning students. We acknowledge that many CA students may not visit Durham but would prefer to access facilities and print resources in a local university library. To facilitate this, you are entitled to apply for membership of the SCONUL Access scheme which provides access to around 180 other university and higher education libraries in the UK and Ireland, along with reference-only use or borrowing privileges in those libraries as well. Please remember that admission to libraries and services is always at the discretion of the university or college you are visiting. 

Some TEIs may have existing arrangements with local university libraries - ask in your College Library. 

Accessing e-resources from Durham University

If your College is using the Common Awards Hub you have access to a suite of e-resources, including Ebsco’s Philosophy and Religion collection, ATLA Religion database with Serials and JSTOR. Ask in your College Library if you are unsure of the route to these resources. 

Useful links: 

Online access for visitors


The University Library can offer provision of a limited range of online resources to users of the library who are not members of the University. 

Please ask at the Help and Information desk at the Bill Bryson Library or the service points in other libraries to register for this service and to obtain your password. Please note passwords are only valid for the day on which they are issued. 

What online facilities do I get? 

Your guest login entitles you to: 

  • Access to a dedicated PC at Bill Bryson Library 
  • Access to a Web browser when you log in to this PC 
  • Access to some of the online resources subscribed to by the University, where authorised by vendor licenses. With a few of these you may need to seek assistance from Library staff to obtain a password. 
Excluded online resources 

These resources are excluded due to licence restrictions:

  • Box of Broadcasts 
  • Datastream 
  • Digimap 
  • Economic Intelligence Unit Online 
  • Lexis Library 
  • Mintel 
  • Naxos Music Library 
  • Nexis UK 
  • OVID services - Ovid journals, EBM Reviews including Cochrane 
  • SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts Online) 
  • TRILT - Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching 
  • Westlaw 
  • WRDS