I've talked about the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare Library, so it only makes sense for me then to visit an incredible library in my backyard: the new NC State University Hunt Library.
When you first enter Hunt, you come into a space that reminds me strikingly of an IKEA. A large yellow staircase intrudes in a large room. To your right is a wall of glass. Behind the glass is a dizzying display of floor to ceiling stacks. Instead of book shelves, they are shelves of metal bins that contain about 40-60 books each. Four book bots retrieve bins containing requested items.
|My shadow is riding the book bot...hehe|
There has been controversy about the book bots and concern that they were replacing humans. I think there are positive elements to this and some things that are a bit unfortunate. The positive is that for a huge academic library, the book bots are quite efficient. The human element has not been taken out entirely because there is a crew of folks who will come to you and help you with assignments and projects. The book bots even get smarter because only about 20% of an academic library collection like NCSU's is actively read and circulated. The other 80% is checked out maybe once every 15-30 years or so. So the book bot puts frequently requested books closer to the deposit.
|This gives some perspective for the size of the book bot area. The metal bins go down another floor (basement level). You can see how high they reach. And they run nearly probably half the length of the entire building.|
The thing that disappoints me about the library is no open shelving. While this has created ample space for gathering (see below), it means you cannot simply browse. This changes search strategies. I am the type where I like to find something I need and then poke around to see other similar or related items next to it on the shelf. Those might be valuable too. While NCSU allows you to see similar items digitally in the catalog, you'd have to request them to see them in full. I wonder how information seeking behaviors are changing and if the book bots will be underutilized, with students favoring full text databases instead. I also wonder what introduction and orientation for searching new students are given for the library. Bigbad and Punky Brewster (students at NCSU) had never been to Hunt before this trip.
But enough geekiness, on with the tour. After viewing the book bots, Bigbad decided he would take a seating tour of the entire library. There is no shortage of a place to rest your bum. And with at least 3 dozen different styles of seating, there was lots of testing.
|I think all are in agreement that the egg/ball chair is phenomenal.|
We spotted the 3D printer in action. Way cool. I felt like we were on the set of Big Bang Theory for a second. We brainstormed ideas of what we'd create with it if we had the skills. D&D figurines, eyeglass frames, and treasure rings with a hidden hinge are at the top of our list.
And finally the terrace. I'm thankful that they included this space that overlooks a small lake because Raleigh is a beautiful city and Centennial Campus is quite pretty, a little oasis gem in a corporate town.
|Ignore the metric ton dumping of pollen. It's everywhere this time of year. Nothing escapes a pollen shower.|
|I blog about books, crafts, educational ideas, food, and my life. You can subscribe subscribe to my blog to stay up to date on my posts.|