The Library Learning Centre is running a trial from 22 October to 10 November, with eXtra eXtra Long opening hours. TU Delft Library Customer Services Manager Kees Schouten initiated the trial. A brief interview with him:
- Why did you set up this trial?
We have seen the numbers of visitors rising, across the board, since the opening of the Library Learning Centre in November 2010. During talks with the Student Council last year, the opening hours were a regular point of discussion. Students often felt the Library was extremely full, especially during examination periods, and more extensive opening hours could spread the number of visitors more evenly. Their wish was for us to open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays during examination periods and we are happy to oblige.
- What is the purpose of this trial? What do you hope to learn from it?
A key theme during the development of the Library Learning Centre was the ideal situation – from the customers’ point of view – in which our public space would be open 24/7. We want to be ‘the place to be’ on campus, a place to study, collaborate and be seen but also to attend workshops, hold tutorials or organise creative strategy sessions. We would also like to be a ‘living room’ for our international students in the evenings.
A survey carried out at the Uithof University Library in Utrecht, and three experiments held in Utrecht, Groningen and Amsterdam revealed that, for now, 24/7 opening is not a realistic option in the Netherlands. Again, the conclusion in all cases was that staying open until two in the morning would be desirable. Users there were very enthusiastic and besides an overall increase in the number of visitors, there was also a better spread throughout the day, with an obvious increase during the evening hours. What I’d like to know is whether the same thing will happen in Delft.
- Longer opening in a time of recession and cutbacks. Is that possible?
No, not without further consideration. We can afford to pay the cost of this pilot ourselves but not the additional costs that that a permanent extension of opening hours would entail. The proposal we submit to the EB will therefore have to be very well-founded and various scenarios are currently being calculated, but a successful pilot would at least help.
- What if money and other such restrictions were no object, what would your ideal Library Learning Centre be like?
That’s simple: The TU Delft Library is Open!