Tuesday, March 12, 2013

North Carolina Libraries Day

On Wednesday, March 6th, 2013 Cheryl Cross, Nataly Blas, Jose Merlo Vega, a visiting professor and myself traveled to NCSU for the open house of the new Hunt library. The library opened to students and the public this January but it still considered to be in a soft-opening as not all of the technology is in place.

If you have the chance you really should make the trip out to the library. Here are some highlights:

The BookBot:

Rather then open stacks Hunt library has installed a bookbot, which can house over two million books (its about half-full right now). The books are bar-coded and arranged by size rather than subject. Patrons order them from the computer and within 5 minutes can pick them up for browsing or checkout. Professors and Students expressed concern about losing the serendipitous book find from browsing so they are currently working on a virtual browse still in beta. This huge touch screen (like seriously the size of a person) lets you search for a specific book or by a subject and see visual representation of the books that would be near it on the shelf.

Technology Sandbox:
There is a room called the Apple Technology showcase (named after donors not the Apple brand) that is a glassed in room within the second floor reading room. It has all the different technologies available for check-out so students can see and use them before checking them out. For our visit they also featured one of the 3-D printers. They actually have three of them and they are generally housed in the 3-D printing room. Students can design their own patterns and programs and pay a nominal fee by the ounce used. The printers take a good amount of time-the squirrel in the picture took about two hours-but are so cool! One medical student created a 3-D model of a trachea to study, so there is actual real-world value!

Study Space:

One of the main reasons they built this library was to increase study space for the students. Before it was built they have enough seating for 5% of the campus population in the main Hill library. Now they have two main libraries and enough seating for 10% of the population. They also created a graduate student commons that requires students to swipe their id cards so only graduate students can use the space. They even created a faculty study space for when faculty want to get out of their office.

There were so many neat touches to this library. The group study rooms have whiteboard walls and  touchscreen controllers that also allow students to contact a librarian instantly. There are student workers who wear "Ask Us" t-shirts, they walk around the building and fix technology issues (printing, computers, ect). There are several multimedia rooms that include theater lighting and sound, 3-D cameras and 270 degree screens. You can read more about the library's spaces and see student pictures at the Hunt Library Website: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/huntlibrary