The Minster Library and Archives provides access to printed books, manuscripts and records of the Chapter of York that spans 1000 years of history.

There are three ways you can access our material:

  1. Visit us to find items in the loanable and reference collections. There is no need for an appointment when viewing items in the General Collection, Reading Room, Periodicals, Lower Stack or Hailstone Wing. These locations are indicated on the University of York library catalogue.
  2. Make an appointment for library Special Collections and for items from the Minster archives. Open the booking link in a private or incognito window if you experience an error.
  3. You can also use the book delivery service to have borrowable items delivered to other University libraries for collection.

We are located in the Old Palace, based in Dean's Park on the north side of York Minster. If you are visiting, please use the intercom to the left of the door to gain access as the main door will be locked.

Contact the Minster Library

You can always contact us directly at or telephone +44 (0)1904 557250.

Please contact us ahead of any visit if you have accessibility concerns: the main public entrance at the front of the building is not wheelchair accessible, but there is an alternative entrance point available.

Opening times

Library and Reading Room

Monday to Thursday: 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm. The building is closed at lunchtimes (12.30 to 1.30pm)

Appointments (Special Collections & Archives)

Monday to Wednesday: 9.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.30pm. The building is closed at lunchtimes (12.30 to 1.30pm)

Upcoming closures

May 27th (Bank Holiday Monday)

University of York students can borrow books and access resources free of charge due to an agreement between the University and York Minster.

Non-bookable study space for around 12 people is available, however, visitors with appointments take precedence. If the Library was full, we would have to ask you to move desks or to leave. The King's Manor Library is a short 5-minute walk away and has a many more study spaces.

Nearly 30,000 post-1900 books are available for loan to University and fee-paying members, with particular strengths in:

  • Medieval and Reformation histories
  • Church, art and architectural histories
  • Material for stained glass studies
  • Early-modern literature
  • Early 20th-century ethnography and folklore studies
  • History of education and schools

For more information expand the sections below. 

  • Various Public Record Office papers (e.g. state papers, charter rolls, close rolls, fine rolls, patent rolls), Parliamentary Debates, Pipe Roll Society, Rolls Series, and other series titles, some not available in other University of York libraries (such as Corpus Christianorum)
  • Yorkshire Parish Registers (printed, not originals)
  • York Archaeological Society Record Series, including Early Charters
  • Crockford’s Clerical Directories
  • Friends of York Minster Annual Reports

Over 90,000 titles of printed books, of which around 32,000 were printed before 1851:

  • 120 books printed before 1501 (known as incunables), the oldest from the 1470s
  • early modern English and Continental printed works from the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries, many with original bindings
  • a strong collection of Bibles, pre- and post-Reformation prayer books, and numerous works on church history, liturgy and reformation theology
  • Civil War tracts: over 800 examples of printed pamphlets, books, and newspapers, printed mainly in London and York between 1640 and c1660
  • atlases and regional map books
  • significant titles in the history of science, medicine and natural history
  • Some rare early printed music, including a unique printed works and compositions by Minster organists
  • thousands of items relating to Yorkshire history, topography, people, society, culture and literature, mainly from the late 17th to the early 20th century, centred on the huge assembly of books and documents from the Hailstone Collection, donated in 1890
  • York printing: including author and annotated copies, sales catalogues, scarce or unique copies of locally printed material, and ephemera including election squibs, chapbooks and theatre playbills (advertising performances on the Tate Wilkinson and Yorkshire theatre circuit, c1730s to c1840s)
  • Newspapers: single issues, special editions / supplements, or longer runs of over 80 titles printed between 1719 and the present day, mostly 18th and 19th century
  • books from British private presses of the late-19th and early 20th-century, as well as limited editions and fine bindings
  • Around 1,200 items deposited from nearly 60 parish libraries, including many significant Reformation-damaged books

Note: around 450 pre-1801 Minster books are temporarily stored with the University of York Rare Books collection - you can view these on campus

Much of our collection of archives and artefacts is searchable via a separate online catalogue. If you are able to visit but unable to find what you are looking for in the catalogue, please let us know ( and we may recommend that you book an appointment to consult some of our paper catalogues that have not been added to the online catalogue yet.

The Minster Library building in Dean's Court

The Old Palace and the library

Following a bequest of some 35 volumes in 1414, the Minster's book collection has grown through the centuries thanks both to new benefactions and active collecting.

By 1810 it had grown so much that new premises were needed, and the Library moved to the restored chapel of the former archbishop's palace, to the north of the Minster (The Old Palace).

We have made our primary Donor’s Book (1686-1924) and first two library catalogues (16381687) available via the University of York digital library.

  • All visitors to the building must comply with basic collection and Reading Room security regulations, such as leaving coats and bags in lockers: these will be made available through booking communication or by front desk staff
  • Two wifi networks are available in the Reading Room: Eduroam which can be used by members of participating universities (including University of York) and CityConnect which is available to all
  • There are no University of York copying or IT facilities available in the building
  • Copying of items is permitted with the purchase of a photography day permit (£10.00 per visit), subject to conditions of access, condition and any data protection issues
  • No self-service photocopying or electronic scanning is available: there is a staff-mediated charged service (minimum £3.00 cost) for any copying request by this method
  • Remote copying orders and prices quoted by contacting
  • Members of the public can borrow books from the Minster Library for an annual fee of £30.00