Above: An image of the new library design.

Embracing the future

Call it the library of the future because the vision for this rebuilt library at Universiteitssingel 50 (UNS50) is far removed from the old-school libraries people are accustomed to. Carin Klompen, UM Department Manager Library Locations & Services, says she is confident that students will enjoy the revitalised library upon its reopening on 10 June. Especially because students and faculties were directly involved in the plans for the new library in the form of working groups, and it is their inputs that are now being implemented.

A student-centric approach

“For students, it’s important that the library is a place where everyone can feel at home. It should be a space for meeting and sharing knowledge. It should be a natural place for people to go to, but also a place where you want to linger.”


According to Carin Klompen, the library of the future is one that continues to thrive. It is not a static place but one that evolves to adapt to the needs of its users. It is a place that revolves around the creation and exchange of knowledge but it is also about the people who use it, their needs, and creating a place where they truly want to be.

Dr. Claudia van Oppen, UM Library director, especially likes the theme “a river of Knowledge” which forms a central part of the new design. “The theme is visualised in the library by the contrasting use of grey and green colours resembling a river. This symbolism is beautiful; a river starts small at its source but grows larger as it flows and occasionally leaves something behind along the way… The process of acquiring and creating knowledge unfolds in a similar way.”

Randwyck Renovation
Above: Building work currently underway, with the river shape depicted on the floor.

The evolution of a concept

The plan to renovate the library building has been in the works for quite some time. It was initially part of broader plans to upgrade the entire UNS50, which is over 30 years old. However, the need to replace a leaking roof expedited these plans.

Randwyck Renovation
Above: An image of the new library design.
“The building’s appearance and feel were very outdated, and we felt that it no longer met the standards of the time,” explains Carin Klompen.

“It was a bit like a favourite old blouse that is still comfortable to wear but despite loving it, it is simply too faded and worn to wear anywhere but in the garden or the kitchen. Similarly, we realised the library needed an update, especially because the very concept of a library has evolved.”

Bridging the physical and digital

Decades ago, the library primarily focused on physical books and documents. However, times have changed and the library of the future is one with an integrated focus between the physical and the digital, and that is also what this newly designed library’s focus will be. Along with that, collections will be presented much more attractively and there will be a special anatomy room where students and staff can expand their knowledge of human anatomy through available literature or 3D animations. Important and historical books will be displayed and everything will be presented in a more accessible and attractive way.

Randwyck Renovation
Above: Images of the new library design.

Crafting a welcoming environment

Monique Notermans works, among other duties, behind the information desk at the Randwyck Library. She has contributed to research on the ideal design for a library information desk to ensure functionality, while also making it welcoming and accessible. Notermans also participated in the brainstorming sessions for the new library’s design.

Randwyck Renovation
Above: A design image of the new library information desk.
“What we observe is that people consider it a home away from home, and that’s precisely what it should be. A gathering place where individuals work together, think together and socialise together. Therefore, the environment must also reflect this. People ought to feel at ease, able to delve into research and learning. There’s a shift towards the future as education and research evolves, and libraries must adapt to keep up with the future.”
According to Monique Notermans, visitors can look forward to an open environment with diverse spaces tailored for various purposes. A welcoming ambience with ample room for collaborative discussions and group work, but also enough quiet concentration areas for focused work. An environment that exudes tranquility yet also encourages engagement, and with a completely different atmosphere than before. Even the library’s information desk has undergone a complete redesign from traditional layouts.

“Previously, we stood behind a lengthy counter, which I find very formal and less accessible. The new counter will be far more open and inviting,” says Notermans.

Randwyck Renovation
Above: One of the new study areas, with ongoing building work in the background.

Looking ahead

According to Carin Klompen and Monique Notermans the final weeks before the library’s reopening are both exhilarating and tense as the clock is ticking towards 10 June. Soon, students, researchers, teachers, and UM staff can see for themselves what the library of the future looks like.