Despite significant cutbacks in recent years, Eindhoven’s library is busier than ever according to new figures. The library has recently seen an increased number of visitors, more members, and more activities with more participants.
Reading has little influence on the library’s appeal as it is no longer just a place to borrow books. Visitors can use its facilities to improve their foreign language skills and computer proficiency with courses and lectures – all well-attended.
One downside, however, is overcrowding. “I find it difficult to concentrate when sitting at the large tables. There’s too much noise around me”, says Barbara van der Leij, who goes to the library to study.
One of the library’s most popular activities is the Taalcafe (language cafe), where foreign nationals can practice Dutch. Every week, 50-60 people engage in speaking practice at the same time. Employees do their best to limit noise by dividing groups across the room and spreading sessions out through the week. However, the library is reaching the limits of its capacity.
“In recent years we have financed a lot from our own resources, and we have saved a lot. Growing out of our skin now means we will need to find other sources of funding”, says library director Albert Kivits.
The library has some ideas about how it can sustain continued growth. “If we had more branches and a bigger budget, we could serve more people and generate more income. Our new location in Woensel shopping centre is the first step towards this. We also hope to open a branch in Eindhoven-Zuid in the next few years”, Kivits adds.
Translation: Nicola W