Hertford College Library

Hertford 2030 prioritises excellence in research and teaching, underpinned by world-class facilities.

For centuries, Hertford’s library has been the foundation of our students’ academic potential, a place where everyone has the opportunity to excel. Now, we are creating an exceptional space for our students that preserves the best of our past and enables the future of learning. This ambitious project is central to our Hertford 2030 aspirations, and has our values at its heart: access, academic excellence and sustainability. Like Hertford it will be open and welcoming, a place of opportunity. And in the Hertford spirit, it is a unifying, collaborative project for the whole college community.

Rumours of the death of the book are premature: access to physical books and journals continues to be a key part of academic life alongside digital resources. Our plans allow for continued growth in the print collection, with future-proofed technology so that students can work together and collaborate in the digital sphere.
The library welcomes all and is key to Hertford’s ethos of openness and access, allowing students from different backgrounds to be on an equal footing. It is also at the heart of many of our access initiatives designed to demystify Oxford and help students get the most out of their education; our new facilities will expand and facilitate these initiatives. Importantly, the new library will be fully accessible, with a lift to all floors that will also allow access to Hall.
Our Buttery Books, from the 17th to 19th centuries, are fantastic documents that give a unique insight into the development of the early halls of the University. Our historic books capture the intellectual ferment crucial to the formation of the Royal Society, in which college fellows were key founder members. Our new design reunites our collection and displays it, connecting the college’s past, present and future.
Our main reading room in the new library will be underground, but a cleverly designed window will maximise daylight and transform a dark and crowded space into a light and airy reading room. Behind the frontage, we will re-open the 18th century chapel, making an airy entrance and exhibition area. And we have a plan for a roof terrace looking out over Radcliffe Square. We look forward to welcoming you up there!



Hertford’s refoundation in 1874 was made possible in large part due to the benefaction of Thomas Baring. This tradition of philanthropy has continued as the college has grown throughout the years, and we are grateful to all our donors for everything their generosity has helped to achieve. The library redevelopment will be a genuinely collaborative project, and we are seeking support from members across the Hertford community to realise our ambitions.

The library will cost £16m to build, and we aim to raise at least half of this from philanthropic donations. Every gift, whether large or small, will make a real difference. Donations can be made tax efficiently in the UK, US and beyond, and can be spread over a number of years.

If you remember the library as your Hertford haunt – or perhaps if you feel you didn’t spend as much time there as you might have done – we’d love to hear from you.


How you can direct your gifts

Add your name to our online benefactors' book icon

Add your name to our online benefactors' book

Name a chair for £1,000 icon

Name a chair for £1,000

Or for £70 a month for one year (including Gift Aid)

Contact us to discuss supporting a particular area of the library icon

Contact us to discuss supporting a particular area of the library

Fundraising priorities

Find out more about our other fundraising priorities and Hertford 2030 plans here.