New University Library

A library is at the heart of any university. It’s a place where we can learn and connect with each other and with new ideas. It should be somewhere to be quiet and reflective as well as social and collaborative.

We are building a New University Library at the centre of the University of Bristol, a flagship project within Campus Heart.

The New University Library will have incredible natural light and views, a rich resource of texts and special collections, excellent digital infrastructure and technology.

It will be a stimulating and nurturing learning environment that will provide:

  • a café and exhibition gallery space to showcase the new Centre for Cultural Collections, open to all
  • a place to host a year-round timetable of events
  • library book and journal collections, including the Theatre Collection, one of the world’s leading collections of British theatre history, and our extensive Special Collections
  • new ways to engage with the City and its communities by delivering an exciting spectrum of social, cultural and academic engagement activities in purpose-built facilities
  • a world-class academic environment, fostering innovation in teaching, improving student attainment and facilitating new research partnerships

The New University Library will be built on the site of the current Hawthorns building. Work will start in autumn 2019, and will be completed in 2023-24.

Context: the Campus Heart Programme

In 2015-16 we co-created a bold and exciting University Strategy that encompasses a wide range of ambitions. We listened to what students and staff asked for – more space at the centre to work, to share ideas and relax with each other.

In particular, our students have changed dramatically in both their numbers and diversity and its vital our spaces meet the needs of scholars drawn from different cultures across the world.

Campus Heart is the name for the University’s development programme to transform the spaces and services around Tyndall Avenue – creating opportunities for staff, students, external partners (local and international) and our community – to come together to learn and study, get help and support, be social and just relax.

Campus Heart is part of the way we are delivering the priorities of the University Strategy by transforming the space, and the relationships that happen in and around the buildings.

Our Objectives and Vision for the New University Library

  1. Supporting wellbeing
    We will incorporate the latest innovations in design theory and practice to ensure the library best supports the wellbeing of our students and staff. Carefully designed spaces will provide a sense of relaxation and support, particularly for our students who spend extended hours in the facility.
  2. Inclusive and accessible
    The new library space will be welcoming to all users, as an environment where diversity is valued and everybody feels supported. All aspects of the building will facilitate ease of accessibility for all.
  3. Inspirational
    The architecture will delight and inspire innovation and discovery. It will be a building with spaces that create opportunities for intellectual pursuit and elevated thinking. Maximising natural light and views will be essential. There will be opportunities to engage with the city and beyond. Our rich and unique Cultural Collections will inspire creativity and new uses.
  4. Adaptable
    The building will seamlessly adapt to new ways of learning and researching, to accommodate new technologies and services that will develop over the next 50 years.
  5. Built to last, sustainable, complementary to heritage surroundings
    The building will be designed to meet high sustainability building standards. The proposed site is within a conservation area. The building design will take account of and be sensitive to its surroundings, whilst offering a flagship building commending the value of education and research endeavour, and exciting the senses.