First step to new University Library
On Monday 17 August 2015, Erasmus University Rotterdam will be embarking on the first step towards a new University Library. This day marks the start of the relocation of the UL to two temporary homes, followed by an extensive renovation. Until early 2017, we will be working to create a University Library which is fit for the future.
Over the next year and a half, the University Library, which dates from 1968, is being renovated. The present building has not only reached the end of its life span, the new UL must also be fit for the future and be able to accommodate current and future ways of studying and working.
Although the University Library is busier than ever, digitisation has meant that fewer students and researchers are visiting the library for a printed book. There are currently around a hundred times more downloads than printed lending. The number of times that a paper book or magazine was lent out fell from 200,000 in 1995 to 36,000 last year.
UL director, Matthijs van Otegem: “In view of the digital developments, we need to radically transform our function. The UL will become the content manager of the university: supporting researchers and students in acquiring, processing, managing and publishing information.”
In the new UL, the focus will be on meeting, working together and studying together. The interior design will be adapted accordingly. The library will therefore be given 900 modern study areas, good WiFi and lots of electric sockets. Most of the study areas are designed for private study. A cull of the book collection has also been recently undertaken, not only in response to digitisation, but also to provide more space for study areas.
Atriums and a light dome on the roof allow light to enter the building. The UL will also be given a new entrance on Institutenlaan to improve access. The Rotterdamsch Leeskabinet reading room will be moved to a prominent location at the top of the central staircase. Because the building will be more open, less artificial light will be required. The new UL, designed by architects ABT-jefvandenputte architectuur, will also be more sustainable due to the extensive use of insulating glass. Special climate-control ceilings will ensure the right temperature.
On Monday 17 August, the current building will close and the relocation will start to two temporary locations on the campus, which will open to students and staff from 31 August. On the eve of the actual renovation, 17 September, the UL is organising a closing event for students and staff. At this event, they will be able to say a special goodbye to the old library building, where many will have spent numerous hours. The new UL will open in February 2017.
The renovation of the University Library is part of the ‘Campus under Construction’ project involving the renewal of the Erasmus University campus. In 2013, the new campus heart was opened and on 31 August 2015, the new Polak building will open its doors.
Over the coming years, more work is planned to make the campus a pleasant place to study, work and live in. For example, the total number of study areas will increase from 1300 now to 1900 in 2017. Last year, the new campus won the Falco Award for Best Public Space in the Netherlands.