Broerplein met fietsen

The Broerplein, heart of the University of Groningen, with the University Library to the right

This is the annual report of the University of Groningen Library for 2011, a year in which the library underwent many changes. An evaluation report on the library’s new organizational structure was published, as well as an integrated collection plan – a mammoth piece of work from the two sectors involved in collection building. At the end of 2011, the Library conducted a Customer Satisfaction Survey within the University. The results of the survey will lead to further improve the level of quality and accessibility of services to which the Library’s target groups are accustomed.

The Library made the news as a result of unexpected mildew in the stacks, the release of the lipdub film, and the introduction of extended opening hours from 1 January 2012.

The vision document ‘Bibliotheek in beweging’ was approved, and sets out the direction for the Library in the years to come. The publieksversie [public version] of the vision document is available for consultation.
The Library has prioritized a number of policy choices from the vision document.

  • ‘Optimization of work processes within the University of Groningen Library’ had high priority, and was overseen with the expertise of a professor and postdoc from the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Groningen.
  • ‘External communication: how does the Library reach its users?’ focused on streamlining all external communication from the Library to its user groups within and outside the University.
  • ‘Redesign of public amenities in the Library building’ was implemented in the autumn of 2011 with the aim of remodelling the public services offered in the Library in order to make them more customer-oriented, efficient and future-proof.

In 2011, a large number of sector-wide working groups were initiated within the Library. The Library received funding for three multi-year IT projects:

  • Discovery Tool
  • Library support for e-readers
  • Learning Grid

The relocation of the Library of Philosophy from the Faculty of Philosophy to the fourth floor of the University Library was completed at the beginning of April. The Faculty has converted its former library into a modern facility with study places and flexible workstations.
The Library has succeeded in realizing the required cost savings (more than €300,000). Staffing cutbacks were continued, and freed up resources for collection-building. This required a great deal of flexibility on the part of staff members. We can be proud that the Library ended the year with a positive financial result.

In 2011, the decision-making took place regarding the temporary deployment of a cluster librarian for the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Arts and the three faculties at the Zernike campus.

In the context of the changing financial position of the Library, the working group ‘Clustering Scenarios’ (Financial Planning and Budget, Property and Investment Projects and Library) was asked to produce a report setting out possible savings based on the cost carriers for accommodation, staff and exploitation. The ultimate aim is to continue the annual transfer of funds (€ 115K) from the staffing budget to the collection-building budget in the coming years. The report will describe various scenarios, focussing on the physical clustering of specialist libraries and a reduction in the number of locations. The Library envisages that the number of locations will eventually be reduced to two cluster libraries: a City Centre Library in the main Library building and a Zernike Library in the EBR/WN library. This is our preferred scenario. Decisions with regard to the Central Medical Library (CMB) are made by the UMCG.

Marjolein Nieboer