Shrinkage Leeuwenborch Library

Published on
February 1, 2009

In the fall of 2008, Wageningen University's Executive Board took the decision to build a second education building on the Wageningen Campus. To make the new construction financially possible, a set of measures were decided upon, including the integration of the Leeuwenborch Library into the Forum Library. Once this happens, the newly freed space in the Leeuwenborch will be available for the expansion of the educational facilities.

However, the original plan to transfer the Leeuwenborch Library completely to the Forum has, in the meantime, been abandoned. The basement of the current Leeuwenborch Library will be renovated and equipped with a number of study areas and a small library. The study facilities will receive a good working collection of textbooks, reference books and the most recent study books necessary. Because books are extremely important for the Social Sciences and because these users are used to the collection's full availability in open stacks, a part of the SSG collection will also be placed in the Forum Library's open access area. The remaining part of the books will then go to the repositories in the Forum. Because the Leeuwenborch Library has to be vacated by July 2009 and more time is needed to prepare the entire collection for the move, the collection will temporarily be stored elsewhere. During this period, material can still be requested.

This is a drastic change for the Leeuwenborch and the Social Sciences department. With the abovementioned measures, an excellent library with a beautiful and valuable collection and housed in the same building where both research and education are concentrated is undeniably disappearing. The pain of the library's loss is somewhat softened by the fact that the Social Sciences are also well served by the digital library and that the paper collection will remain relatively close by.

Naturally, the move also has consequences for the Forum Library and the four Sciences Groups that have already placed their library collections there. An earlier study showed that the Leeuwenborch's library collection would not fit in the Forum. As a result, drastic measures have to be taken to house the Leeuwenborch's collection there. No extra repository room will be created, which means that the only solution is to reduce the paper collection. Because this measure may not affect the collection in any way, the possibilities are limited. The most benefit can be achieved by eliminating the paper volumes of the journals, a large number of which are digitally available. Each journal will be examined to see if eliminating it is a sound decision. In doing so, a few things are under discussion including if the remaining availability of the journal is sufficiently guaranteed and if there is a national responsibility to keep this journal. In the coming months, this operation will be put into effect. The library's users will be kept well informed of the way this 'deselection process' is carried out.

(newsletter 2-2009)