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Project Re:Book (Omboeken)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is looking for new ways of presenting its 30 kilometres of books to the public. With this project, we hope to raise awareness for the growing range of services the library has to offer to its users with a library staff that is eager to explore new avenues and take a new approach to books.

Showcase for scientific knowledge 
As a broad and community-oriented university, VU Amsterdam strives to make science accessible to everyone. The University Library is the quintessential showcase for scientific knowledge. This is however, increasingly provided digitally, but books continue to play a key role. For many, books symbolize spiritual enrichment, curiosity, stories and knowledge. They also play an essential role in creating the inspiring, accessible place at the heart of the campus that the University Library is and wishes to remain.

New approaches 
At the same time, we have noticed that VU Amsterdam's extensive book collection - 30 kilometres of books in all - is not currently being utilized effectively enough. Too many works are gathering dust in the holding stacks, while they do merit an (academic) audience. Project Re:Book wants to make these books more accessible and present them more prominently to the public. This also means that we are experimenting with new ways of working, for example by offering more people a role in selecting books to be placed prominently in the display window or a theme library. In addition, we are giving books a new lease of life in art and organizing activities around books, such as the Blind Book Date, Open Mic Nights and workshops on making Little Free Libraries.

Out of the Comfort Zone 
The main goal of Re:Book: to make VU Amsterdam's books more visible and easier to locate, in a way that will ensure they are actually consulted and used more. The sheer volume of 30 kilometres of books means that we have to critically examine the collection. This applies not only to the books that we want to present differently, but also to books that, over time, have become less relevant to the library. For the latter category, we are – together with various stakeholders – looking into how these books might be more useful elsewhere.

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