University Library & Collections Staff @home in Durham, Barnard Castle and other world famous locations.

As with so many of our colleagues across the University, over the last couple of months (has it really been that long??) many University Library & Collections staff have been getting used to saying hello to each other through a computer screen, rather than over a cup of coffee in the staff room or across a desk at the start of the working day.

Whilst we miss our conversations with staff and students within our libraries and museums, and across university sites, we hope you’ve been making use of the range of expanded online services we’ve been able to offer over this period. This post offers a reminder of some of those services we provide, alongside a sneak peak inside some of our working-from-home lives.

As a team, many of us who are able to do so are working from home to keep our online services running, and to expand our offering to our staff and students. At the same time, a few key workers remain on site to protect and secure our valuable collections, and ensure sites remain safe pending our return.


Some of us have been lucky enough to enjoy the sunshine through kitchen windows, or in gardens of various sizes. Some of us have been locked in home studies, balanced on kitchen workbenches or re-purposes dining tables. Some of us have been multi-tasking, fielding online enquiry services whilst providing a human bed for cats and dogs, or little people of varying sizes (who, as time has dragged on in to May, on occasion are closer to feral monsters than the adorable cherubs of a pre-lockdown era).


Many of us are trying to look out for our colleagues, whatever their personal circumstances. In addition to keeping services running online (and developing new services as well!), staff from across the service have participated in Virtual Marathons (running, walking, cycling and watching all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films), online book clubs, Taskmaster challenges from our amazing Learning Team colleagues and sharing photos of our pets. Yes, its true; some Librarians do have cats.


In recent weeks, we’ve shared some of the experiences of  colleagues and the work they have been involved with, whether that is:

And we’ll continue to do so, even as the University looks at how to approach a phased opening of buildings within a Covid-19 context (no, the Billy Bee is not open yet!)


But in the meantime, we wanted to give you a peak into some of our views each morning…


… as many of us get on with bringing the library into your homes, with services including:

This builds on existing services, and follows on from our short lived but well used Click and Collect service which ran right up until we had to close our doors. Even though we couldn’t help with the toilet rolls (remember all that crazy???), we tried our best to get you the books you needed before we were forced to close our (physical) doors.

So to all of you, wherever you are, keep in touch, do make use of the services we provide, let us know if things aren’t working (and please let us know when they are), and most importantly; take care of yourselves so that when we can open the doors to our buildings we can welcome you back with a smile.

Until then, we’ll keep posting here, on Twitter, on Facebook and via other University channels. We’ll keep answering your questions, and make sure you can access the texts you need.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


2 thoughts on “University Library & Collections Staff @home in Durham, Barnard Castle and other world famous locations.

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  1. Looks great, as long as there’s been no travelling between Durham and Barnard Castle 😉

    1. None that we’re aware of Andrew! I believe some Library staff may have frequented Houghall Woods to see the bluebells as part of their permitted daily exercise (without involving driving from anywhere within Durham, or from anywhere else in the UK).

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