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uni'alumni 2016

exits. The revolving door at the main entrance to the new building is at ground level, and the Rotteck- ring is now a reduced-traffic street. Next to the information desk, a flight of stairs leads down to the circulation desk, where patrons can check out books on their own. UB employees push carts full of books through the stacks and put them back on the shelves. Students walk around browsing and placing books in their baskets. They searched for the titles and where to find them pre- viously on the online catalog. The open stacks contain approximately 600,000 volumes. Most of the call numbers remain the same: GE for humanities, NA for natural sciences, and LB for the textbook collection; new are only RE for law and Geo for earth sciences. Once one has found all the books one wishes to borrow, one proceeds to the self- checkout area, a white table with monitors and a lot of hidden technology: The patrons place their library card on the card reader, enter their identifi- cation number on a keyboard, and lay the books on the table. Their user name and the titles of the books appear on the screen. The system registers the books as checked out, and the electronic chips on them are deactivated. They would otherwise set off an alarm when taken out of the building, like at a department store. Magnificent View We return to the ground floor, head to the elevators on the north side of the building, and go up one floor. Here the students are making themselves comfortable: Some sit on gray armchairs grouped in front of the windows, their computers on their laps. Others use high brown leather sofas that form a kind of cubicle with a table in the middle, shielding the group from the outside. Still others work at so-called media tables, where they can connect their laptop to a flat screen monitor. Many of them are browsing or searching the Internet; the university’s wireless network is available in the entire building. Snatches of conversation may be heard from all directions; a constant low buzz of voices is audible throughout the room – and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. This part of the building is the Parlatorium. Designed for group work, it offers space for 500 and extends from the first to the fifth floor. This side of the UB also has an exhibition and reception hall, a computer lab, and a media center accommodating a student editorial team (see article on page 10). Taking the stairs up to the next floor, we are rewarded with a magnificent view of the Platz der Alten Synagoge, the Rotteckring, the theater, and Collegiate Building II. The facade there consists almost entirely of windows that allow natural light to enter the UB without causing glare from the sun and without heating up the Patrons can check out books on their own at the new self-checkout areas. The open stacks on the first underground floor provide storage for around 600,000 books. Photos: Sandra Meyndt Time for a study break: The Studierendenwerk runs a cafe on the ground floor. 6 6