For the time being, only the University Library in the city centre will be open, and only the lower floor. Opening hours are from nine to five and the day is divided into three sections of two and a half hours. For each time slot, 25 students are welcome, while there are nine hundred study spaces. Just dropping in is not an option. Students must reserve a time slot via the website. Is your name not on the list? Then you won’t get in.
Strict precautionary measures have been taken, says University Library director Ingrid Wijk. “There is one-way traffic and everyone works on their own laptop. The University Library computers have either been taped off or removed.” In between each daily section, there is a quarter of an hour break. “Students then have the time to leave their space, after which it will be given an extra clean. We will use this time to also check whether everything can continue responsibly should the government ease up on the measures.”
Robyn Titulski, third-year student at the European Law School, and sixth-year medical student Bart Bulté are two of the twenty-five students who had a place in the second time slot last Monday afternoon. Everything was calm and there was sufficient distance, they both said as they came out. Bulté: “There were no pre-determined places; you could choose freely. There was more than enough room for 25 people. Everyone took their own responsibility.”
It was “pleasant” to work in the University Library, says Bulté. “I never spent much time in the University Library, but I was glad to be able to study elsewhere.” Titulski is also relieved that the library is open again, but feels that two and a half hours is “too short”. She is used to spending long days at the library. “Sometimes I was there for twelve hours in one day. When I got home, I knew that my work was done and I could switch off. Now when I am home, I constantly have thoughts in my head that I should be doing something more. That is stressful. I will be glad when the library opens up again completely.”