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About us

Welcome to Cosin’s Library, one of the earliest public libraries in the North East of England. Hidden in the heart of Durham, the library was founded in 1669 by Bishop John Cosin to give local people access to ‘good books’. After a period of conservation work, we have now reopened the library to visitors. Whether you are interested in this important part of Durham history or in old books, you can either visit us in person or explore Cosin’s Library virtually.

DUBinding the Bard_Blank PURPLE

Breaking News: Durham University launches its first international bookbinding competition

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the printing of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, Durham University is launching a major new blind juried bookbinding competition inspired by the Durham First Folio. Cash prizes will be awarded to the most outstanding submissions, and the first prize will also win a paid commission to bind a facsimile copy of the First Folio.

For more information, head to the competition webpages by following the link below.

Durham University International Bookbinding Competition 2024: Binding the BardOpens new window

Explore Cosin’s Library

Non minima eruditionis est bonos nosse libros (Not the least part of learning is to know good books).

42266-scaled John Cosin Bishop of Durham (1660-72)