When the James B. Hunt Jr. Library opens on Centennial Campus next January, it will have a wealth of high-tech features, including an automated book retrieval system called the bookBot. Of course, you can’t have a bookBot that’s all bot and no books. That’s why students and staff are busy moving more than 1.5 million books from the D.H. Hill Library on north campus to the new library.
Although it’s less than a mile from door to door, the move is a logistical challenge. Margaret Peak, who chairs the project task force for NCSU Libraries, says she has to update her plan nearly every day.
“It’s been very long hours and very hard work,” she says. “We have so many deadlines.”
Carney-McNicholas, the company helping her meet those deadlines, has hired 60 students this summer to clean and shrink wrap hundreds of thousands of books and then load them onto a van. The van makes four trips a day between the two libraries, carrying about 3,500 items per trip. Planning the move started long before summer. More than a dozen students have been working with Peak over the past year and a half to measure and color-code the books.
But all that hard work is paying off. The move is currently three days ahead of schedule.
“That’s tremendous,” Peak says. “It’s really been a team effort.”
The materials being moved not only include the engineering and textiles collections from the D.H. Hill Library and the Burlington Textiles Library, but thousands of items from five other facilities both on and off campus. In addition to books, students are moving 77,000 boxes of microfilm and hundreds of thousands of sheets of microfiche as well as journals, tapes, compact discs, slides and software.
Once the books get to the Hunt Library they head straight for the bookBot, where students scan them and then load them into bins. The bins – 18,172 in total, stacked 50 feet high – can store books far more efficiently than shelves. That frees up room in the library for more technology-rich study rooms and collaborative spaces.
The Torch is Passed
To celebrate the launch of the moving project, library staff produced a lighthearted video, inspired by the Olympics, that traces the route of one book from the D.H. Hill Library to the Hunt Library. At the same time, they’ve set up a contest giving everyone on campus the opportunity to win an iPod Shuffle. The contest details are available online.
When it opens its doors on Jan. 2, the Hunt Library will anchor the academic oval on Centennial Campus, offering dramatic views of the Raleigh skyline to the east and Lake Raleigh to the south. The primary users of the library will include faculty, students and staff in the College of Textiles, the College of Engineering and other science programs.
The building will also be home to the Institute for Emerging Issues, a public policy “think-and-do” tank that brings together leaders from business, the public sector and higher education to tackle some of the biggest issues facing North Carolina.