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.
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Of the roughly 12.5 million volumes in Yale’s libraries, approximately 4 million are housed right in the middle of campus, in the lavish Sterling Memorial Library. Another 3 million or so are three miles away, in a nondescript warehouse here in Hamden. Yale’s Library Shelving Facility in Hamden houses the overflow from campus libraries.
Aside from library staff, few at Yale have ever been to the decade-old Library Shelving Facility. But LSF was always meant to be more like an unobtrusive waiter than a gaudy architectural marvel. After all, if not for the facility’s 30-foot-high stacks and capacity to hold millions of Yale’s most obscure texts, University officials say, the libraries on campus proper would be overflowing.
The New York Times reports on the Day & Meyer, Murray & Young storage facility on 2nd Avenue: