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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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News Mon May 16 2011

The Library of the Future...um, Present

The University of Chicago's Joe and Rika Mansueto Library opened today. Lest you think this is just another collection of long wood tables, dusty books, and handy places to hide for students' lacivious activites, think again: this library is for online work only. With no stacks to speak of, the library has an underground storage space where 3.5 million books are kept on 50-foot shelves and brought to students by a robotic system. Wired shares some thoughts on the futuristic, Helmut Jahn designed library, comparing this technology favorably to that of Google Books where copyrights limit full access to many works. Don't miss the comments where readers, including Chicago's own Sara Paretsky, offer some very real concerns, such as pertinent books are often stumbled upon on a walk through the stacks and this will no longer be possible, and what will happen to the library in the event of a robot uprising.

Curious about how the new, transparent dome library works? Check out this video, aptly titled "How It Works." (The image of that underground book holding area makes me think that this is how Trantor must have gotten started in Foundation, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.)

 
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Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

Editor: Andrew Huff, ah@gapersblock.com
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