Grote Looiersstraat 17
Since 2003, the university library has been located in a former almshouse, which dates to 1757. Over the course of its history, the building has served various other purposes, including that of a barracks, a military hospital, a camp for political prisoners, a city archive and a city library.
After purchasing the building, which extends to the Nieuwenhofstraat at its rear, UM made drastic renovations to the entire complex. After demolition work and the addition of a storey, the labyrinthine layout of the former city library was transformed into a clearly structured university library that lets in a lot of outside light. A public passage for cyclists and pedestrians was also created between Groter Looiersstraat and Nieuwenhofstraat. Other improvements included organising the old book collections area to serve two functions: as study spaces during the day and a ‘debate room’ in the evening. This is made possible by easily rearrangeable tables – which are incidentally imprinted with the covers and contents of the old collections of books – and audiovisual equipment that has been integrated into the bookshelves.
Recently, in 2012–2014, the building underwent major maintenance, including the replacement of all carpeting and an intensive cleaning of the floor slabs on the ground floor. During this period, bicycle parking capacity was also expanded. In addition, a pilot project involving separate waste collection was launched in 2013. So far this has been a great success, with waste being deposited at three centrally located collection bins for paper, plastic and residual waste.
A Fast Forward, or FFWD>>, is also located in the building. This is an express supermarket operated by our in-house caterer Albron. Lastly, the building has a reception desk where students, staff and visitors receive a warm welcome.