During the exam periods the locations of the University Libraries in the city centre and on the Utrecht Science Park are very popular places to study. The demand for study spaces exceeds the capacity (1500). Research shows that forty percent of the visitors are from outside Utrecht University. That is why Utrecht University starts a pilot between 15 October and 8 November in which only Utrecht University staff and students can make use of the study places.
For some time now, students have asked for more study spaces in the two locations of the university library during exam periods. Over the past few years the steady growth of the number of visitors (from 1.4 million in 2012 to 1.8 million in 2017) could be solved by creating more study places and introducing longer opening hours. But now, the University Library has reached its limit. There are 1,500 study spaces and in exam periods the library is open almost every day of the week from 8 a.m to 1 a.m, except Fridays and Saturdays.
“Hospitality is one of our key values”, says Anton Pijpers, President of the Executive Board. “However, it is shown that 40 % of the study spaces in exam periods is taken up by persons from outside the university. If Utrecht University students, who we want to offer excellent study programmes and who pay their tuition fees, cannot find a place to study in the library during these periods, the balance is lost. That is the reason for this pilot. At other moments the University Library is open to all visitors and throughout the year, also during exam periods, will still be offering all its other services.”
In the weeks to come, the plans for the pilot will be further developed. All internal and external partners of Utrecht University will be involved in the project. Other Dutch university libraries which in most cases already have introduced some kind of entrance policy will be asked for their experiences. Early September a campaign will be launched to inform visitors about the pilot.