Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago.

The New York Times reports on the new Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago, which houses cutting-edge facilities for preservation and digitization of physical books, as well as a high-density underground storage system with the capacity to hold 3.5 million volume equivalents. With its soaring elliptical dome and prime location on campus, the Mansueto Library’s Grand Reading Room, which opens May 16, 2011, provides an inviting space for rigorous scholarship in an array of fields.

HOW IT WORKS:

1. Book is requested using online catalog.
2. Five cranes run along parallel tracks; one is activated and locates materials using bar codes.
3. Crane removes appropriate container — one of nearly 24,000, each weighing up to 200 pounds — and transports it to an elevator, which lifts it to the resource desk.
4. Human retrieves and scans book’s bar code, initiating e-mail notification to student.

Time elapsed: Five minutes or less.

Click here for article.

Click here for video.

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