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Chicago State University's Robotic Stacks

From January's Wired, a quick look at Chicago State University's automated stacks.

Robotic Librarians by the Numbers

  • Top speed of CSU’s robotic librarians: 7 mph
  • Average time for a robot to retrieve five books: 2.5 minutes
  • Average time for a student to retrieve five books: 2 hours
  • Capacity of CSU’s high-density storage: 800,000 volumes
  • Robots making out in the stacks: 0

Full articlePhotograph


As one who spent three years paging books in UC Berkeley's Doe Library (among other things), I really wonder about:

"Average time for a student to retrieve five books: 2 hours"

Either Chicago State has the world's worst stack layout or the world's worst student employees--or somebody's funnin' with Wired.

Or there's some other factor that makes the stacks nearly impossible to deal with.

I do know that, if I'd ever taken half an hour (much less two hours) to retrieve five books in the Doe stacks, I'd have been an ex-page...

Of course, Doe Library only had about three million books, so maybe it's not a fair comparison.