Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Utrecht University Library

Hello everyone! After a little pause I’m glad to be back and share Utrecht experiences with you. Let’s say that my absence is justified because of the start of the fourth period of study here in UU, which for LLM students equals to writing their thesis. Therefore, not only me, but every other LLM student in any other discipline is now dedicating almost all of their time to such an important writing, with which one is expected to contribute to the academia and make a significant step forward in the debate that is discussed within the thesis itself. At first it might sound a huge entrepreneurship and maybe a little scary, but when you start your LLM studies you will definitely be surprised on how much you can learn and advance your skills in a small amount of time.

This brings me to the core message of this blog post. “Every top university has its own top library” and this is definitely what the Utrecht University Library is. I could not imagine writing, not only my thesis, but any paper that was required during my studies without the library’s resources and help. With two big and beautiful buildings, one located in the city centre and the other at the Uithof, the Utrecht University Library is always close to the students for any material that they might need.

I remember that one of the main pieces of advice that our professors used to give before the start of the thesis period was: use the collection of the library; it is indeed quite big, rich and it is going to be indispensable for finding the right materials to complete your research. And I cannot stress that enough. As of my own experience, I needed quite some amount of different books to buid up my research and almost all of them were available on the shelves. But don’t worry, if you cannot find a book in the shelf, check twice on the online catalogue and see if somebody else is using it. In this case, you can simply put an online request within the system, and the library staff will inform you when the book will be available for pick-up (you can also choose a favourable date!).

For sure that books are an important part of the University’s library, but its collection, especially for law students, becomes even more accessible when it includes a list of the most prominent journals (online or not), where you can find sometimes “life-saving” articles for your research. In that regard, also the “UBU-link” helps quite a lot. For the ones that aren’t familiar with the term, this is simply a tool that helps the students to find the full text of their online material, provided that the library is a subscriber to that website/journal that you are looking into (and trust me, most of the time it is).

However, the collection of such a vast number of materials is not the sole feature of the Utrecht University Library. Say, if you have troubles at concentrating at home, or if your roommates are being louder than usual, the library has plenty of study spots reserved for students. Circled by books, in a quiet environment and with a great lightning system, the library is definitely my favourite place to study. It is true that the building in the city centre can be quite busy sometimes, especially when its exam week, but you can always try going to the Uithof: the building is much bigger and it’s practically guaranteed that you will find a similar quiet and nice place to study.

To conclude, as a UU student, academically you will always have the support you need. The library offers a ton of choices and you simply need to be aware of them. Check as well with the service desks, the staff is super nice!