Once the January examination period has finished, work will start on renovating the top floor of the University of Groningen Library. The entire floor will be stripped and refurbished in line with the drawings in the Final Design (January 2015). The work on the fourth floor will be completed in mid-2015, after which the renovations will continue on the third floor.
The Preliminary Design (September 2014) shows how architect Anouk Vermeulen from AG Architecten intends to integrate the extra workstations, extra toilets and improved facilities into the design drawings. The presentation of the Final Design shows exactly what the floors will look like and which colours and materials will be used. Most of the implementation plan has now been made public. The addition of an extra roof terrace on the second floor, solar panels on the roof, a high-speed WiFi network and new ventilation system for a better indoor climate have already been announced.
Students do not all study in the same way, so the new University Library will provide a range of different workstations varying from group spaces to solo seats, and from computer workstations to ‘no devices’ places. Visitors can choose the type of workstation that best suits the work they are planning to do on any particular day. The workstations will be sound-proofed and smartly furnished in green and white. The ceilings will be fitted with energy-efficient LED lighting, but extra lighting will be provided at the individual workstations. Finally, all workstations will have their own plug points (except those in the special silent zones where no devices are allowed).
These days, the University Library is a place where people go to concentrate and study in silence. Although this means more workstations, the building will still feature kilometres of bookshelves. A staggering 7,500 metres of open bookshelves will be used to display the various collections: General (first floor), Archaeology, Music, Reference and Arts (second floor), Law and Social Sciences (third floor) and Theology and Philosophy (fourth floor). More kilometres of books will be stored on the ground floor, in the basement and in the book storage areas on the Zernike Campus Groningen. The current bookshelves are to be given new surrounds and reused.
Unlike the current Library, the new Library will have mini-canteens on every floor. The first to fourth floors will provide ‘coffee areas’ where visitors can meet for a break and buy a coffee, roll, soup or other light refreshments. Taps will also be provided so that people can fill their water bottles. Cabinets on the walls of the coffee areas will display special items belonging to the University Library. A branch of Starbucks will open on the ground floor on 14 February, completing the range of food and drinks facilities in the Library.
For many years, immense canvases painted by Gerriet Postma (1932-2009) and Ruud van der Wint (1942-2006) hung in the hall of the University Library. The Groninger Museum has kindly offered to clean and store these paintings during the renovation work. On 5 February the paintings will be moved.
The entire renovation will be spread over several years to stagger the nuisance caused and enable the Library to keep its collections open. The designs were created after lengthy consultations with Library staff, student representatives and specialists from in and outside the University of Groningen.
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