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The Library


The Library

Among Durham’s greatest treasures is the library founded by Bishop John Cosin (1595-1672) in 1669.

One of the earliest, still-surviving public libraries in North East England, the original books remain in the same purpose–made building. Cosin had been buying books for a long time and many volumes in the library are from his personal collection. Later bishops of Durham also donated books to the library, before Bishop Van Mildert allowed Durham University to use the space from 1832.

Follow the links below to learn more about the history and collection of Cosin’s Library.

Did you know?

The name Cosin’s Library is not original: Cosin himself called it the Bishop of Durham’s Library. However, he clearly wanted to be associated with the library: his coat of arms is proudly displayed over the original entrance and throughout the building. He also planned for his personal crest to adorn the spines of books in the library, although this did not happen in his lifetime.