Where will the new University library be located?

The new University library will be located on the site of The Hawthorns, BS8 1UQ, on the corner of Woodland and Elton Road, Clifton.


When will the new Library be open?

The University aim to have it ready for the 2023/2024 academic year.

The refurbishment of its neighbour Senate House will be completed in 2020.


What is the vision for the new University library?

The overarching objective is to create a world class Library at the centre of the University of Bristol that reflects the University and the City’s proud tradition of academic excellence with an innovative, forward thinking spirit.


What and who is it for?

The new University library will create opportunities for staff, students and our local community to come together to learn and study, get help and support, and relax.

It will welcome students, staff and the local community opening up the University’s world-class Cultural Collections encompassing the University’s Special Collections and the nationally renowned Theatre Collection.

There are also public-facing exhibition galleries, events space and a café open to all.


Will the new University Library be open to the public?

The ground floor will be open to everyone, with access to exhibition galleries, events spaces, a programme of new public art commissions and a café. The public will be able to use reading rooms and the facilities within the Centre for Cultural Collections on the ground floor.

Access to book and journal collections on the other floors is also available through a Library Visitor Scheme.


How many collections will be in there? (books, journals)

The library will house approximately 420,000 books and 70,000 journals.


How will the new University library support the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC) ?

The new University library will be the home of the University’s Library Chat service (our online enquiry service) that will be an important service for students at TQEC as there won’t be a permanent library presence there.

The new University library will be home to University of Bristol’s collection of Arts and Social Sciences books and journals covering subjects such as History, Psychology, Geography, Economics, Sociology, Law, Politics and Arts any of which can be delivered to TQEC if requested by staff or students located there.

It is planned that engagement activities at TQEC and the new University library will complement each other with some activities and events being ran at both locations.



What will the new building look like?

The stepped design is initially three storeys tall and rises to seven-storeys to integrate with the local built environment.


How does the building respond to its historical context?

Protecting the historic context is of utmost importance to us.  We are in continuing discussions with Historic England and the Council regarding the detailed design and development of the new University library.


Will the architectural style fit with the other buildings in the area?

The building is designed by award-winning architects Hawkins Brown and Schmidt Hammer Lassen who have a reputation for building public libraries, including Christchurch (New Zealand), Copenhagen and Aberdeen. The team is working closely with Bristol City Council planners to make sure the building works well in its environment.

The new building is designed to sit within sight lines looking up Elton Road towards Senate House and up Woodland Road from the corner of Royal Fort Gardens. It will be built using natural stone (limestone and sandstone), a common pattern with other new buildings across Bristol, and the verticals reflect the style of other Bristol buildings, such as the Will’s Memorial Building.



What will the opening hours be?

There will be extended opening hours for staff and students (responding to need at busy exam periods).

Opening times for the public giving access to the ground floor facilities is yet be determined but likely to be normal office hours. The Cultural Collections Centre will be open to the public for a minimum of 30 hours a week, and there will be a planned programme of exhibitions and events at different times.



What plans are there for improved public realm in the area surrounding the new University library?

The plans include a new civic square in between the University Library and the refurbished Senate House, at the current Woodland Road/Tyndall Avenue junction, with proposed new road layouts to improve traffic flow, enhance the pedestrian and cycling routes and make the whole area enjoyable, safer and more accessible for everyone.



What about transport and movement of people to/from library and surrounding University buildings?

Transport consultants are assessing the movement of people and transport requirements to inform the ongoing design process for the Library and in relation to the new wider public realm proposals. Technical surveys will be undertaken as required.


What car parking/cycle spaces/disabled parking will be provided?

The existing departmental and visitor parking spaces are being removed and relocated and cycle parking facilities will be significantly increased. Disabled parking and set down is being allowed for and will be further developed.



How have you involved the local community in your plans?

We have been involving and will continue to involve stakeholders, residents, local community groups and the local communities in our planning consultation. In December 2018 we held an initial workshop with representatives of key organisations. This has now been extended to include local residents and the wider local community to help shape our plans.



What specific measures have you taken in the design to support the University’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030?

The buildings are being designed to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) “Excellent” rating. Measures to support the carbon neutral commitment include:

  • LED lighting
  • using heat from server equipment to provide heat to other parts of the building that require it
  • generating renewable energy from solar photovoltaic panels
  • high efficiency heat recovery on air supply systems
  • window sizing to reduce excessive solar heat gain
  • a low energy passive chilled beam cooling system.



How will you manage disruption during construction?

There will be a construction management plan drawn up to help minimise impact on neighbours and the wider area during the demolition and build. Will be looking at opportunities for off-site prefabrication as much as possible and investigating off-site logistics areas for parking and storage.

Dates and times for each stage of construction will be published along with the relevant  contact details for raising any issues or questions.


Will you offer local apprenticeships and jobs for local people, including ex-offenders?

In our tender documentation we ask contractors to ensure that apprenticeships and jobs are provided for local people.


How long is the build?

We plan for the Library to be operational by 2023/24.



What constitutes the University’s Cultural Collections?

The Cultural Collections comprise of two of the university’s most significant collections: The Theatre Collection and Special Collections and is supplemented by the public art that will be commissioned and displayed within the adjacent public realm.

The Theatre Collection is a world class collection related to the history of British theatre and live art.

The University’s Special Collections is internationally recognised as an important collection of rare books and archives, with particular strengths in politics and campaigning, literature and publishing, and science and medicine.


What relationship will the new University library have with other Universities / education bodies?

  • The Theatre Collection is in receipt of Research England funding.
  • Both Special Collections and the Theatre Collection host student visits (UWE, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Circomedia, City of Bristol College and others).
  • Special Collections and Theatre Collection host occasional school visits. The new University library offers us the potential to work more closely with schools in the city.



What will happen to the building currently occupied by the Theatre Collection?

This has yet to be determined.


How will current uses/facilities in Hawthorns be re-provided and where?

Student study space, an enhanced café and catering services will be provided within the refurbished/extended Senate House and open to public. There will also be a café in the new University Library open to members of the public.

There is a University-wide strategy being developed for the re-provision and/or relocation of the existing Hawthorns facilities within the University estate.


How are we paying for it?

Universities no longer receive government capital funding, so all capital investment must be paid for by accumulated annual surpluses. We are paying for these developments from philanthropy, surpluses from fee income in the past and sales of University properties.