Pilot: Only university students in the Library during exam periods

Photo: Hans van Leeuwen

Research done by the University Library in last April’s exam period showed that 40 percent of the library’s study spots is occupied by non-UU people. At an earlier inventory, in 2014, this number was only 27 percent. There were students in the library from the University of Humanistic Studies, the Utrecht School of Arts, and the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU). Students from vocational colleges (mbo schools) and even high schools also use the library’s study spots.

There’s a remarkable increase in external students studying in the University Library at De Uithof. In 2014, 23 percent of students there wasn’t a UU student, whereas in the most recent exam period, this number had risen to 44 percent. Especially the number of HU students had increased, despite the opening of the HU library with its 550 study spots.

Shortage each exam period 
The complaints about the lack of study spots in the library are an annually recurring tradition. The past few years, the topic was a steady presence on the agenda of the University Council’s student members. The students wonder why non-UU students are welcome in “their” already crowded library during peak periods. They called upon the Executive Board to do an inventory of the library’s visitors.

Nico Poppes, who did the study, acknowledges the shortage of study spots each exam period. “With the increase of visitors who aren’t from the UU, it makes sense to see how we can make these study spots more accessible to UU students.” This week, the plan was expedited. Students from the University Council, in a direct response to the study, launched a proposal to only let UU students use the library’s study spots during exam periods.

The Executive Board then decided to start a pilot in this fall’s exam period, in which the study spots will only be available to UU students and employees. The next few months will see a further study on how to make that possible, exactly. Poppes: “As a university library, we’re open to anyone. To lend books, or to see the special collections, for example. We want to keep it that way. So we’ll have to look for ways to make only the study spots exclusively available to UU students and staff.”

At the expense of UU alumni, too 
“In coordination with the University of Humanistic Studies and the universities of applied sciences, we’ll study how we can solve barring external students. We can do this, for example, by communicating well and in time, and to suggest alternatives. Do the HU students know there are places for them at the university of applied sciences?”

The pilot will also cause problems for UU alumni. In the city centre, there are many students who’ve done their Bachelor’s in Utrecht, and are now doing a master’s in another city. They still live in Utrecht. These people, too, wouldn’t be welcome to study in the UU libraries during exam periods.

The pilot will last from October 15th to November 8th, 2018.

Translation: Indra Spronk

Tags: study area