Visiting Durham was a sight to see as it is the third oldest college in Great Britain and in the top ten institutions in the U.K. Seeing the library was eye opening because as the librarian are telling us, there seems to be a constant state of change, to find space. On our tour you can see where the renovations have been made (they have the most outlets in a library I’ve ever seen) and how they have overcome the growing student population and storage of material, and there may be another expansion coming in the next few years.
This library staff is so concerned with accommodating their students they go to long lengths to help their students have what they believe they need. When the doctoral students asked for a specific room just for them and their materials, the library staff made it happen. A completely quiet room, with shelves for their materials, including ones from the library, and a view of the cathedral that lets in natural light. To figure out what their students need they hold surveys intermittently. They do a great job with their library.
Palace Green Library is the special collections library for the University. It is filled with dark wood shelves and have portraits above each bay of shelves. These portraits are in relation to what is on the shelves, meaning that this is the cataloging system for this library, which is unique in itself. Our next stop was just down the stairs where the digitization area was set up, which was very intriguing to see in action. We had been told about digitization of material the entire trip, but had never been able to see it in action. After these materials are digitized, which takes months to do, they are thenBill Bryson Library put on the online catalog for public use.