350-year-old Cosin's Library near Durham Cathedral reopened by Durham University

Cosin's Library was founded by John Cosin, Bishop of Durham in 1669. Credit: Durham University

One of the earliest surviving public libraries in North East England has re-opened its doors after undergoing essential conservation work.

Cosin's Library, right at the centre of the Durham World Heritage Site at Palace Green, was founded by John Cosin, Bishop of Durham, in 1669.

The extensive collection of over 5,000 books was developed over the centuries by Cosin and subsequent Bishops.

The library's rare and precious collections and the splendid wooden bookcases which house them have undergone specialist conservation work to protect them for generations to come.

The extensive collection covers subjects including classics, theology, science, archaeology, law and local matters. The writings come from many different languages including Latin, Greek Hebrew, Italian and French.

The books are incredibly old but the library is now ultra modern with computer generated historic images, upgraded catalogue records and a new virtual tour making the collections more accessible and enjoyable for visitors.

Cosin’s Library will be open Wednesday to Sunday, between 11am and 3pm, plus most Bank Holidays. Credit: Durham University

Speaking about the reopening, Director of Library and Collections, Liz Waller said, “The conservation and accessibility work we have undertaken has enabled us to keep this remarkable collection safe, whilst opening up new ways for us to share it with visitors both in person and virtually.”

Entry to the Library is free but visitors do need to book.