In previous years, the city centre university library already had longer opening hours during the exam period, up to midnight instead of ten o'clock. “Next Saturday, the university library in the city centre will open at eight o'clock and not close until Friday 25 October at 10 o'clock in the evening,” says Guus Foppen, building management official at the university library. Opening hours in Randwyck will remain the same as in previous XXL weeks. Why not have a 24-hour opening there as well? “The university library in the city centre is busier and in Randwyck, because of its remoteness, it is more difficult to guarantee safety,” says Carin Klompen, department manager of library locations and services.
During the experiment, we will look at things such as the number of visitors, the distribution of students across the day and the use of materials (books, printers, computers, et cetera). “In the XXL weeks, the occupancy rate is at times more than 90 per cent. We hope that because of the night-time opening hours, numbers will be spread out more and everyone gets an opportunity to find a suitable study space,” says Klompen.
The gate on the Grote Looiersstraat will be locked; the university library will only be accessible from Nieuwenhofstraat and entry will only gained with a UM card. Three Securitas employees will keep watch during the night. Foppen: “I have asked them to also regularly make their rounds outside; for the students' safety, but also to prevent noise hindrance for surrounding residents.”
“It will be difficult to draw conclusions after just one period of three weeks,” says Foppen. That is why the night-time opening hours will be repeated during the exam periods in December, March and June. The pilot project will be paid for from the student loan system, the money that has become available because of the abolition of the basic grant and which now must be used to improve education. The costs of the 24-hour opening during the XXL weeks in 2018/2019 is estimated to be approximately a hundred thousand euro.