With the growing trend towards electronic books, there is no doubt that there is going to be more ebooks than prints published within the next few years. But what do we do with the existing print collections, especially if the library has collected valuable research collections or rare books of great values? Is digitisation the only way to preserve the collection? Will the technologies of the present still be around in the future? Well, the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago has a solution – The automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS). Take a look at the video at the bottom of this post to see how this system works.
The ASRS is an automated storage and retrieval system which uses robotic cranes to help retreive books from its high-density underground storage archives. With a capacity to house up to 3.5 million volumes, it makes provision for the library’s collection growth right through 2029. Two thirds of that underground space are devoted to bins for storage of regular size items and remaining one third to shelf racks that will store oversize books and other special collections.
I am sure libraries will argue about the cost effectiveness and practicalities of such a long-term capital investment/commitment and the debate can be a long drawn one. And these questions are certainly not new to the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library because they have already got an answer for you – FAQ