Chicago Inaugurates the Library of the Future

Last week the University of Chicago opened the exciting new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library. Looking much like a partially buried crystal egg, the Grand Reading Room of the facility is outfitted with Low-E glass that ensures plenty of daylight, but prevents overheating. The Mansuetos, alumni of the University of Chicago, generously donated $25 million to underwrite the construction of the Helmut Jahn-designed library.

But what’s really innovative about the library is the massive underground automated storage and retrieval system that’s capable of containing 3.5 million books and journals. Items are requested online and brought to the surface by the robotic system.

Although the serendipity of searching the stacks is sacrificed, at least they’re preserving and protecting the physical print books for the future.

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