Thank You

Palace Green Library Refurbishment

In 2010, Durham University commenced the refurbishment of Palace Green Library, situated at the heart of Durham's historic UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The project included the upgrading of 17th century spaces, strongrooms, an extended research area for the scrutiny of rare manuscripts, improved facilities for conservation, climate controls, additional student study space and new exhibition galleries.  The inclusion of new galleries was considered important, as Durham University would then be able to display its own treasures, such as the Shakespeare first folio, to students, the local community, friends, and alumni visiting with their families.

In his letter of appeal the then Chancellor, Bill Bryson, told potential supporters that all contributors of £100 or more would have their name, or that of another nominated individual chosen by them, permanently recorded on a donor wall in the Dunelm Gallery.

The Chancellor suggested that if ten per cent of the alumni population made a donation at the suggested level of one hundred pounds, then £1m would be raised towards the refurbishment of Palace Green Library.  Extraordinarily, through the generosity of our donors, four-and-a-half times the target amount was raised.


What happened next
Refurbishment work was undertaken between 2009 and 2014 benefiting both researchers and visitors to the Library. Due to its size the project was undertaken in phases:

Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2011 and comprised:
Creation of the Wolfson Gallery which opened in January 2011
Transfer of the Law and Music collections from Palace Green Library to the Bill Bryson Library in June 2011
Relocation of computers at Palace Green elsewhere around the University's Durham campus (which extended provision elsewhere)

Phase 2A was completed in February 2012 and comprised:
Creation of the new Dennison Stoddart Gallery and the History of the Book Gallery, with facilities to host world-class exhibitions
Improvement to visitor amenities, including a new entrance area, reception station and shop
Completion of the extensive restoration of Bishop Cosin's 17th century Library

Phase 2B was completed in July 2012 and comprised:
Creation of a new Conservation Unit
Expanding space and renewing the air-conditioning in one of the Library's strong rooms

During 2013 the Pace Building (1966) was completely refurbished. developing a purpose-built special collections reading room, bringing environmental conditions in two strong rooms up to full current regulation standards and creating more secure strong room space by installing extra mobile shelving.

The final part of phase 2 was completed in May 2014 and the Education Space and Café are now open at the south end of Palace Green Library, near Windy Gap.

In recognition of the donors who contributed to the refurbishment project, glass plaques were erected in the Dunelm Gallery, togther with an additional plaque in recognition of the library's major benefactors.

Thank you to all those who have generously supported this initiative. The response was just exceptional.  Please do take the opportunity to visit the Library and see your chosen dedication in situ.

How has my gift made a difference?
The 2010 -11 Chancellor's Appeal for the refurbishment of Palace Green Library remains the most successful to date, and raised, including Gift Aid, almost £4.5m from 1,884 donors; over four times the target amount.  The University received 30 donations of £10,000 or more towards the Appeal, from both individual and organisational donors, plus a large legacy gift of £2.5m. 

Unlike the previous year's Chancellor's Appeal - Scholarships for Afghan Women - the majority of donors were male (59%). The largest groups of donors were the class of 1969 and 1974, and the group that gave the most was the Class of 1958.  Twelve per cent of donors were non-alumni.

Development and Alumni Relations Office
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road

0191 334 6305

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