UB streamlines collection, but relocation will take at least five more years

After two years of searching, the UG has still not found a suitable repository for the UB collection. A possible move will take at least five more years, which means that an additional bike storage facility in the city center won’t be happening anytime soon, either.

A new repository on Zernike Campus is a possibility. ‘But no decision has been made yet, and the details are still unclear’, says UB director Marjolein Nieboer.

In the meantime, the library is working on streamlining the collection of around three million volumes (books, journals, and other publications). This involves giving new destinations to works the UB has multiple copies of and which are available at other universities. 

‘I think that in about five years, we will have made significant progress on these preparations. The less material we have to move, the less space we need for storage elsewhere.’

Bike-free Broerplein

In February 2022, both the university and the municipality of Groningen expressed the desire to have a bike-free Broerplein in two years. By storing hundreds of bikes now parked there daily in an underground bike storage facility beneath the UB, the traffic situation would improve, and the Broerplein could even become a green space.

The bike storage facility could accommodate between 1,200 and 1,800 bikes. However, this would involve the complete relocation of the UB collection. In the fall of 2022, it was already clear it would be challenging to find a new storage location for the collection.

Place to be

Two years later, the practical reality has not changed much: a suitable repository has still not been found, and plans for new construction are not set in stone. However, the plans for the basement have been refined. ‘At the moment, we are considering space for 1,300 bikes and an additional 450 to 500 study places,’ says Nieboer.

While preparations for relocation are ongoing, the UB is also contemplating its future. ‘We are becoming a hybrid organisation: we will retain our physical collections and focus mainly on digital information.’

The UB is also in talks with faculties to explore how the library can become the ‘place to be’: ‘A place where both our students and staff can find all the information they need and which serves as a meeting place and work space.’

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