The Automated Library Robot

August 11, 2016

Libraries have evolved from centers that allow people to borrow books and conduct research to a one-stop shop for Internet usage.  People love to say that libraries are useless and only archive outmoded knowledge, but they still provide useful services for people and cannot be easily replicated with a machine.  Science Daily shares that “High-Tech Librarian Knows Its Books” and relates how robotics are entering libraries.

No, an automated machine is not replacing librarians, but one of the biggest problems that libraries face are disorderly books. It is the bane of libraries everywhere and it makes librarians want to weep when a clean, orderly shelf is messed up within minutes by a lackadaisical hands.  It takes a lot of hours and staff to keep shelves in order, time that could be better spent doing something else:

“At A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research, researchers Renjun Li, Zhiyong Huang, Ernest Kurniawan, and Chin Keong Ho are designing robots that can relieve librarians of many menial tasks, while enhancing searching and sorting of books. Their latest project is an autonomous robotic shelf scanning (AuRoSS) platform that can self-navigate through libraries at night, scanning RFID tags to produce reports on missing and out-of-sequence books.”

Taking away this task will save some time and even locate missing materials with (perhaps) more accuracy than a human.  Robots will not be destroying this sacred institution of knowledge, only improving it.  Budget crunches are a bigger problem for libraries than being replaced by robots.


Whitney Grace, August 11, 2016
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