Explore the North East’s natural history library and discover over 12,000 books and journals on the natural world.

The North East’s natural history library

Located in the Great North Museum: Hancock Library, NHSN’s library collection contains over 12,000 books and journals collected over almost two centuries. Open to everyone, it is arguably the most comprehensive collection dedicated to the natural world in the North of England.

The collection contains:

  • A wide range of field guides covering birds, mammals, plants and insects across the North East and beyond.
  • Books and journals on all aspects of natural history including geology, ecology, and conservation.
  • Traditional and modern nature writing celebrating the diversity and beauty of the natural world.
  • Many rare and exquisitely illustrated books on natural history, some dating back to the 16th century.
The New Naturalist collection © NHSN

Visit the Library

The Great North Museum: Hancock Library will reopen from Monday 15 November.

Opening hours from 15 November
  • Monday – Thursday, 10.00am – 2.00 pm.

Everyone is welcome to use the Great North Museum: Hancock Library – no membership is necessary. Please contact the library before visiting if you are travelling.

Contact (0191) 208 3555 or email library@greatnorthmuseum.org.uk to speak to a member of staff.

Borrowing Books

NHSN members can borrow up to four books from our library collections at one time. To do so, simply select your favourite wild reads and speak with Great North Museum: Hancock Librarian, Tamsin, who will be happy to help.

Given the recent library closure, our usual loan period has been extended. If you have borrowed books from the library, please return them during opening hours.

Any books currently out on loan can be returned without late fees.

GNM: Hancock Library © NHSN

Donate to the Library

Without book and journal donations our library would not be what it is today.

For nearly 200 years people have been donating books and journals to our library. They make up a significant part of our collection and enable other people to enjoy them. We are really grateful to everyone who donates to us.

If you have any books or journals that you think you would like to donate to us then we would love to hear from you.

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