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AU’s libraries will become part of the Royal Library

AU's libraries will become part of the new national library, The Royal Library. Researchers and students will continue to have access to the same local service at the faculties.

2017.04.06 | Rikke Skovgaard Lindhard

the library will continue to be physically present with locations at each faculty. Photo: Maria Randima, AU Foto

After several months of negotiations and consultation at the faculties, the board of directors has just decided to transfer Aarhus University’s libraries to The Royal Library. The agreement will maintain the current level of service for employees and students, and the library will continue to be physically present with locations at each faculty.

The transfer of AU's libraries to the Royal Library, which is scheduled to take effect on 1 July 2017, will lead to academic and financial synergies. At the same time, the university's library services will receive a larger proportion of the digital development in library services.

The background for the decision is that on 1 January 2017, the Royal Library merged with the State and University Library, which has provided library services to AU in close collaboration with the university’s library staff on since 2012. By transferring AU library functions to the Royal Library, Aarhus University will join a national collaboration to provide library services to the universities. 

Consultation showed broad support for agreement

The contract documents were reviewed in two separate consultations at the faculties in January and March 2017. In addition, they were discussed with AU’s library staff, student representatives and in liaison committees at several levels.

Library staff and the academic organisation have expressed concern as to whether it will be possible to maintain the current level of service and proximity to researchers and students after a transfer. Against this background, the contract documents have been made more specific in three key areas: 

  • Proximity: The day-to-day proximity of researchers, students and library staff will be maintained as a clear prerequisite for a well-functioning library service.
  • Service level: With input from the academic organisation and library staff, a more detailed description of the library services has been included in the so-called service level agreement, which will contribute to transparency and a consistent level of service.
  • Influence: Aarhus University is ensured a decisive influence on the prioritisation regarding service and quality in the services supplies by the Royal Library, including through service level agreements, dialogue structures and follow-up on service targets.

The university has the option of taking over library operations again if the Royal Library contrary to expectations does not meet the desired level of service.

In the most recent consultation, the faculties agreed to the transfer on the background of the existing contract documents. The transfer will mean that the formal place of employment of 85 permanent employees will be transferred from Aarhus University to the new national library. 

See also

Administrative, All groups, All AU units, Administration, Policy and strategy