The Future is Now (and its a library!)

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Lulu Press is situated right on the edge of NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Among the benefits of this location are ample affordable eateries for lunch, coffee shops to keep us running, and the beautiful campus itself.

For a bunch of book people (like us), the centerpiece of NC State has to be the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.

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Hunt Library at Night

This incredible building is home to so much more than just books! All antiquated concepts of musty shelves lined with aging volumes must be discarded. Libraries are so much more now!

The Hunt Library is an information hub, epitomizing the role Libraries will play in our burgeoning age of technology and connectedness.

Apart from the aesthetic (bright colors, abundant natural light, and high ceilings), the Library is consciously built to control its carbon footprint, volume level, and the ability for all it’s occupants to get the most out of their experience.

The coolest thing in the entire Library (and believe me, I do not use the word cool lightly) is the Book Bot.

The Book Robot

Book Robot
The Book Robot in Action

The Hunt Library is home to more than one and a half million volumes. 1,500,000 books! The Book Bot is a system of storing and organizing the books. The vast chamber features row upon row of book bins, each containing 100 to 150 books. A student goes to a terminal, selects a book, and the Bot finds the bin. Then it transports the bin to a balcony on the far end of the cavernous book hold, where a Librarian finds the book and brings it to the student.

Yes, you can’t browse like you can at older libraries. But that’s the trade-off for access to such a staggering number of books. 1.5 Million!

Reading Space

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The Library is built for the future, lush with acoustically conscious workspaces, presentation halls with wall to wall screens, some featuring moveable screens that can create an 8 sided, fully immersive virtual experience. There’s also a game innovation and creation studio, with a twenty-foot wide touch screen, allowing up to eight individual screens to run at once. Budding game designers can unleash their imagination, unconfined by technological limitations.

On top of the incredible technology, there’s the basic amenities you expect from a library – comfortable seating (they even encourage napping!), quiet workspaces, ample computers, tablets, and printers (including a 3-D printer!), and even music booths for sound recording.
 

Painting Created On Site

What truly wows you is the seamless merging of form and function. Here is a brilliant, purposeful building, featuring state of the art machinery, and providing broad access to an incredible wealth of knowledge. When I imagine the future of libraries, the Hunt Library is it: high tech, open access, and still capable of putting books from a vast catalog directly into your hands.

The ice cream shop in the lobby doesn’t hurt either!

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