The James B. Hunt Library over at North Carolina State University looks a lot like the library of the future on the outside and inside. The library boasts of cutting-edge technology and modern architectural design. It has, among a few other things, a 3D Printer Makerspace, a Creativity Studio that houses the advanced version of the Navy’s Mariner Skills Simulator, a Game Lab, and, of course, a robot librarian.
Probably one of the first things people notice when they enter the James B. Hunt Library are the robotic cranes going up and down in one part of the library. The bookBot is an automated book delivery system. Anybody looking for a book only needs to select the book from a virtual catalog and one of the robotic cranes will automatically retrieve the book from the library’s underground storage. The book is then delivered to an operator who sends it to an “Ask Us” center or to any location on campus via a delivery service. The process can be triggered anywhere, within the library, anywhere on campus or even on the bus using a mobile device to access the online catalog.
The library has 18,000 underground storage bins which are high-density shelving units that can hold two million books in one-ninth of the space of traditional libraries. The mechanism being used by the bookBot isn’t a new thing and has been used in manufacturing for years.
Watch the video below to see how the bookBot works.