New North Carolina State library features book robots

January 9, 2013 by  

The new James B. Hunt Library at North Carolina State University in Raleigh opened on January 2 and features many high-tech elements, including robots that retrieve books stored in 18,000 metal bins.

The building is 220,000 square feet in size and five stories high, with a 300-floor glass wall. It was designed by a firm based in Oslo, Norway — Snohetta — which also designed the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York.

According to the associate executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information, Joan Lippincott, the library has the widest array of technologies in any academic library in the country. This is line with the research, teaching, and learning missions of the University and the kind of research and academic programs that are offered.

There are four robots, known as bookBots, which move between rows of bins of books that are 120 feet high and 50 feet deep. When a student requests a book, a member of the library staff enters that request into the computer and the robot finds the bin containing the book. It then brings the bin to the library staff member who finds the book and hands it to the student.

There are 1.5 million books in the library which are stored by size and take up about one-ninth of the space that it would take to store that same number of books if they were stored on shelves.

Flyer printing and poster printing were no doubt used to announce the opening of the library and its many technological advances in library usage for college students.