In the last exam period of 15 October-8 November the university ran a pilot in which the study places in the library were reserved for Utrecht University staff and students only. For the most part, the pilot showed positive results In the next exam period (7-31 January) the stricter access policy will be continued to experiment with some changes. Afterwards a final decision on the access policy will be taken.
During the trial period, more Utrecht University staff and students could use the study spaces because they were exclusively reserved for this group (at the final exam period of the previous academic year surveys showed that 40 percent of the visitors came from outside Utrecht University). As visits were spread more evenly over the day, there were fewer queues in the morning and capacity problems for UU students were prevented. In weekends and evenings, it was less busy compared to earlier exam periods.
During the pilot, approximately 40 complaints were filed with the university library. Complaints came from alumni who study elsewhere but are still living in Utrecht and claim to have no alternative place to go. The second category of complaints is from visitors having a paid library card/ alumni card who could consult library material but who were not allowed to enter the public areas. The third category of complaints is from students from other educational institutions and secondary school pupils who claim that their own institutions do not have enough study places or that the study places which are available do not meet their requirements.
In the next exam period the university library wants to carry out some changes with regard to the first pilot to test their effects. The aim is to improve the process of access control and, where possible, to respond to the needs of the several user groups of the library. We are aware however that these changes cannot solve all the complaints.
In addition, more information will be collected in the coming exam period after which a decision will be taken about the specific implementation of the access policy in future exam periods.