News - June 14, 2007

Library quick and cheap

The Wageningen UR Library is quickest at delivering books and it costs the least, according to a comparative study of university libraries.

The university libraries compare their performances each year and the 2005 report contains good news for the Wageningen library. One of the traditional weak points of the library, the speed with which books reserved reach the reader, has greatly improved. In 2004 Wageningen was the slowest of all university libraries in the Netherlands. In 2005 it did a complete about-turn, and was the quickest. Librarian Dick van Zaane: ‘It’s partly due to the way we register lending, but most importantly, we have done our best to make improvements. And that has worked.’ The library is also relatively cheap. Wageningen UR spends the least on its library per euro turnover.

Wageningen scores badly, however, when it comes to the library opening times. Van Zaane: ‘We have been bottom of the list for years. We have experimented with longer opening hours, but there was not much demand. I think things will change in the new Forum building. There are far more people walking around there. I expect that it’ll now be worthwhile extending the opening hours. The library in the Forum will be open until ten in the evening on weekdays, until five on Saturdays and three on Sundays.’

It is also striking that Wageningen students and researchers make comparatively high use of digital information. Other universities lend out more paper versions of books and journals. The Wageningen library gets far more visitors through digital information channels such as Web of Science. According to Van Zaane this is the result of the library’s policy to save paper and invest in digital access to journals.