Let’s face it, the Billy B is the scariest place in Durham

Praying the barriers won’t bleep every time you leave the building


Daunting as it may seem, we all have to use the Billy B from time to time. But nowhere in town is so rammed full of silent, hard-working people and stores of intimidating knowledge.

Here's our take on everything, from entering the building to checking out books, that makes the Bill Bryson Library by far the scariest place in Durham.

Entering the building

You thought you had it bad facing rush-hour on the tube, but Billy B frequenters will know that speed is of the essence here. Unless you master the art of whipping out and successfully scanning your campus card, you're at the mercy of the wrath of the mass of students behind you.

Keep calm and carry on is the advice they gave in the war, and indeed, this remains applicable today as you take your first steps into conquering the battleground that is your degree.

Finding a seat

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We didn't pay £9,250 for a walking tour of the Billy B

Birmingham's spaghetti junction has nothing on the split second choices you'll have to make immediately upon entrance. One wrong decision and you'll find yourself two floors away from your department's books, but if you don't venture far enough in, you may not find a seat at all.

That feeling of desperation as the realisation sinks in that you may have circumnavigated Durham only to be forced to trudge back home disappointed.

Keeping your seat

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The reservation of desks is an art form.

Success! But like your student loan, it's short lived. After 20 minutes of navigation to get your seat, you must now protect it from the eagerly keen first year vultures that swarm each floor. You empty the contents of your bag across the desks that surround you and pray that all will remain in tact as you embark on your first coffee break of the day.

Look out for pesky librarians, hungry to take your stuff unless you use one of their new '45 minute break cards'.

The trauma begins

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The resemblance is uncanny

You thought getting here was hard enough, but you realise that summative isn't going to write itself. Like a sober clubber in Jimmy's, you are out of place as you compare yourself to the industrious students around you. No number of revision playlists and instagram breaks can get you through this, but still you struggle on.

The Great Escape

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A lonely lawyer anticipates his freedom.

With that final full stop you can press save and sit back … that's enough thinking for the week. You slam that laptop lid shut and make a beeline for the exit. You've got this, you know the drill, the Billy B ain't got nothing on me. Campus card in hand, you glide through that barrier into the freedom of the great outdoors – unless you had a book in your bag, in which case the whole of level 1 will hear about it.

There is nothing the innocent Billy B goer fears more than retribution from a Durfess spy.