There was a feeling of eagerness along with a hint of fresh paint in the air as the library faculty put together the finishing touches for the grand opening of the renovated University Library. Well before the doors opened, a herd of students were lining up to be the first to enter the new library. As the hour hand of the clock struck eight, the moment of truth had arrived: How, after nearly two years of renovation, would the students receive the new library?
Reporter Ivar Laanen is studying at the library today and keeps a live journal of his experiences. How are the toilet facilities? Where can you get coffee? And what is that butler doing there? Read it all.
“It’s definitely worth all the time it took to renovate,” said Ismael Yerbanga (IBEB), who was the first student to enter the new library. “There’s more light, it’s modern, and more spacious. I used to be here all day long during my first year so it feels good to be back.”
Early bird gets the worm
Yerbanga and the nine other students who trailed behind him had an unusual surprise awaiting them as they walked into the library. Dressed in a fine tailcoat, a sharp-looking butler stood ready to cater to all the desires that they may have for the day. And as if a butler wasn’t enough, the students also received a gift bag complete with study snacks and their own personal cactus, which the butler provides water for.
As the morning aged, more and more wide-eyed students strolled into the library to get their first glimpse of the renovations. For library director Matthijs van Otegem, the sight of students finding their new study spaces marks the arrival of a moment that he and his staff have long been working towards.
“For us, it’s amazing to see how all our ideas have translated into something that works in practice,” van Otegem told EM. “Before the renovation, no light could enter the building and it was always so crowded in the afternoon that it felt as if we were running out of air. Now we have way more places to study, high-quality furniture, and more light coming in. This building was designed with the students in mind, and we’re proud to have it open before the start of the exam period.”