We all have memories of our favorite librarian. Perhaps it was an older woman or gentleman who helped us with a big research project in high school or college. Or maybe we remember the young, fun librarians who nurtured our reading habits as little kids, recommending picture books and leading us in craft projects. But children of tomorrow may remember their first librarian as a collection of metal and electronics.
North Carolina State University has deployed a robot in its James B. Hunt Library. The building houses a collection of over 1.5 million books stored in more than 18,000 bins. When a student requests a book, a robot retrieves it for them. Gone are the days of browsing the stacks, it seems.
The library was designed by a team of Norwegian engineers and will have its grand opening next month. It boasts a team of four bookBots that zip around the bins, retrieving books as requested by students. Designers estimate that this storage method takes up one-ninth of the space that traditional shelving would require.
"The Hunt Library, in my view, is the academic library with the widest array of technologies in the country," Joan Lippincott, associate executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information, told NBC 17 in North Carolina. "And they've very carefully integrated their technology program with the university's research, learning and teaching mission," she said. "They didn't just do this to be cool. They did this because of the nature of N.C. State, and the kind of academic and research programs that they have."
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Edited by Rich Steeves