We're not allowed in

The Leiden University Library has banned students from other universities and universities of applied sciences until 13 July. Schoolchildren are not allowed into the library either.

(Nederlandse versie van het artikel staat hier)

The date is connected to the exam periods at the Law and Humanities Faculties.
“I’m not allowed in”, exclaims Fiona (24, teacher training college at Leiden University of Applied Sciences), as she leaves the University Library on Witte Singel at half past eight. “It’s a shame, because it’s a really good place to do some work.”

Fiona, who does not want her surname printed in Mare, has just collided with a sign saying, “access restricted during exam periods” at the entrance gates in front of the library. “I have a visitor card, but I can see why the university needs this measure – it’s often very busy here”, Fiona says. “I did actually get an email from the university explaining the situation, but I don’t think I read it properly.”

Teacher training college student Jennifer (23), who also wants to use the LUL, is surprised to find her fellow student outside: “What’s up?”
“If you’re not actually a student at the university, you’re not allowed in because there aren’t enough study spaces”, Fiona explains.
“OK”, sighs Jennifer, who does not want her surname published either. “So, what now?” “It’s not too bad”, Fiona replies. “The weather’s nice. We’ll find a spot on the grass or we could go to the Lipsius Building.”

Eva Brussaard, a student of Art History, who’s arrived to work on her thesis, is “very happy” that this measure has been implemented during the exam periods. “Pupils of secondary schools come here as well. They don’t have the same work ethos and they talk a lot. For them, it’s more of a social event.”

The crowds in the library are a serious problem. “The most annoying thing is when you want a break and there’s an enormous queue at the café. A break isn’t really peaceful anymore.” “We’re trying to regulate the quantities of people but it’s difficult”, remarks Liesbeth van der Poort, Head of the library locations and services. “The restrictions are our response to years of being asked to do something, but I want to stress that we’re not happy with them. Mind you, we haven’t changed the library rules, which say that if it gets too busy, we can give certain categories of visitors priority. In this case, it’s the students at Leiden University. We’re just applying the rules more stringently.”

Students at the University of Applied Students and at other universities can apply for a free library card, but that particular group won’t be allowed into the LUL for two months. A small group who are being refused entry have paid for a card. Van der Poort adds: “That group consists of a few dozen pupils at secondary schools. If people run into problems due to the restrictions, we’ll see what we can do.”

There are no restrictions for Leiden University alumni.

“We need take care of group number one: our own students”, claims Tanja Coster from the library’s public services staff. “It cuts us to the quick to see Leiden students sitting on the ground or going back home because there’s no room for them.”

People with cards who aren’t allowed in can still borrow books. “The books they borrow can be collected from other locations”, Coster explains. “We’re not closing the accounts. The access restrictions only apply to the central library.”

Mare checked in on Van der Poort yesterday. She says that there haven’t been many complaints from people who are not allowe into the library. ‘It has been pretty quiet. But we are vigilant. Just because we haven’t recieved a lot of complaints doesn’t mean there are no problems.’ VB

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English page

We're not allowed in

The Leiden University Library has banned students from other universities and …