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Books Education Robotics Technology Hardware

Robots Retrieve Your Books At U. Chicago's $81 Million Library 202

kkleiner writes "The University of Chicago's new $81 million Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is being referred to as the library of the future. You enter the library and find there are hardly any books, just a large reading room with computers. The library's 3.5 million books are stored inside 35,000 bins stacked within 50 foot tall racks in a massive 5-story chamber underneath the library. When you ask for a book an automated retrieval system involving huge, computer-activated robotic cranes finds the book you want, delivers it to the circulation desk, and eventually puts it back underground when you return it." The age of the personal-shopping library robot is getting closer and closer.
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Robots Retrieve Your Books At U. Chicago's $81 Million Library

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  • Ambivalent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DirePickle ( 796986 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:18PM (#36233892)
    Robots are cool.

    Wandering the stacks and reading random books is fun.

    Going to the location of a book and looking at the books around it for other options is a necessity.
  • by kevinmenzel ( 1403457 ) <> on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:18PM (#36233896)
    But what I enjoy about say, going to one of the many libraries that my school operates - is having a list of a few books I want to check out, and browsing around where those books are found, finding additional books on the subject. This helps me find further research sources. I'm not sure how common that would be in all programs, but in History, it's quite a bit beneficial, or at least it has been for me...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:20PM (#36233926)

    It is very cool, but come on! People are struggling to afford college for their kids, and universities waste money like this?! Sorry, we have to raise tuition another 5%, we have to pay off this robotic library. And people complain about the oil companies...

  • by fotoguzzi ( 230256 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:53PM (#36234204)
    Some libraries have closed stacks and offsite storage, so perusing the entire collection is already impossible in some cases.
  • by Haffner ( 1349071 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:03PM (#36234332)
    As a University of Chicago student, something that I think many people won't take into consideration here is how the library is geared toward the student body. The majority of students use the library as a place to work, rather than a place to get books. And honestly, as someone who does a fair amount of (economic) research, I don't even go to the library until I know what book I'm going to get (I have access to the online library catalog). I think most students view the new library as a cool new place to do work, rather than another place to find books at.
  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:45PM (#36234700)

    Does the Internet have a copy of "Proceedings and plans for the completion of the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail-Road, from Chicago to Oshkosh", published in 1859? ( No? Didn't think so. How about "Sturiella minor: a fossil plant showing structure from the Carboniferous of Illinois", a UChicago student thesis from 1924? ( No? Didn't think so.

    If your response is "who would ever need to know that kinda crap?", you don't understand the first thing about academic research. If your response is "why not just digitize these and put them online?" then you'll be glad to know that they built a digitization lab as part of this new library to do exactly that. But that work takes time. Years.

    The Internet is great, but some things aren't on the Internet. Some things are very very hard to put on the Internet, due to copyright issues, age issues, and manpower problems. The Internet, for all its glory, often actually *reduces* the variety of information available: have you noticed that when you Google something, the first hit is Wikipedia, and the rest of the page is people plagiarizing Wikipedia? It's crucial that information networks from the past be integrated into the network of the present, or we stand to lose our history.

    For more on this, read "Rainbow's End" [] by Vernor Vinge.

  • by jeko ( 179919 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @11:06PM (#36235638)

    Because Sarah Palin, that's why. Because Glenn Beck. Because Creationist Museums where people ride their pet dinosaurs. Because a large chunk of the US actually got excited about the world ending last Saturday. Because .02 cents is not .02 dollars. Because we're fighting two majors wars and a skirmish in three countries most US citizens can't find on a map.

    Because everyone gets to vote. Everyone needs to go to college?! If I had my way, college would be free and citizenship would require degrees in history, economics and science. Why on Earth wouldn't we want the electorate in charge of the largest supply of nuclear weapons on the planet to be as well educated as possible?

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.