Fans of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series will recall the city planet Trantor which housed the “Library of Trantor” (also known as the Galactic Library) in which librarians attempted to create an index of all human knowledge. Well now it seems the University of Chicago right here on Earth have built a library that can hold 3.5 million books which are delivered to patrons by a robotic storage system. (This is in addition to the 4.4 million books available from the University’s traditional library.)
The Mansueto library was recently opened to the faculty and students of the University of Chicago. The library’s unique construction is meant to accommodate the way research is done today: online. In the case an old journal article isn’t available online or a book hasn’t been scanned due to copyright limitations, for example, then the student can request the book right there on the computer. The automated storage and retrieval system will deliver the volume to the circulation desk, usually within the five minutes it takes for the student to walk there. Oversized and novelty books are also stored for retrieval.