3 The new normal: Chronicle of the University of Groningen Library in times of the COVID-19 pandemic

UL during the pandemic

Pieter van der Veen

At the end of February 2020, the University of Groningen Library (UB) celebrated its 405th anniversary with an open day, lectures, guided tours, theatre performances, musical performances and an interactive anniversary lunch for UB staff members. The bustling UB City Centre that welcomes thousands of students every day became a festival ground and was once again the ‘place to be’ at the University of Groningen (UG).

No wonder it was unreal to walk through the empty and quiet building three weeks later. Our slogan ‘University of Groningen Library – where the Shhh happens’ suddenly took on a completely different meaning. The UB did not close during the ‘intelligent lockdown’, and it was anything but quiet behind the scenes: the UB still offered its services to UG students and staff members during the COVID-19 crisis. Even when the Cabinet announced on 3 November that some additional measures were being taken on top of the partial lockdown, the UB remained open. While all public libraries, museums and theatres had to close their doors.

This chronicle describes the adjustments to our services in the period from March to October 2020: our experiences andconsiderations and the preparations to reopen the reading rooms with measures that changed almost every week.

The book was published by the University of Groningen Press

The authors Bert Platzer and Marjan Brouwers interviewed dozens of employees about their experiences over the past few months.
The new normal: Chronicle of the University of Groningen Library in times of the COVID-19 pandemic


Example of a Glossary term in a text (In red , translation in Dutch)

Marjolein Nieboer, Director of the University of Groningen Library

As director, I find it remarkable how UB staff members responded to this new norm. Thanks to their dedication, flexibility
and inventiveness, it was possible to maintain the services of the University Library – to the delight of our users.
I would like to express my gratitude, respect and admiration to all University Library staff members. I dedicate this book
to them, about a period which is now part of the 405-year history of the University of Groningen Library.

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