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. Which includes access to the amazing library on campus.
For a bunch of book people (like us), the centerpiece of NC State has to be the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.
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!
Libraries are more than books
The Hunt Library is an information hub, epitomizing the role Libraries will play in our age of technology and connectedness.
Apart from the aesthetic (bright colors, abundant natural light, and high ceilings), the Library is consciously built. The design controls its carbon footprint, volume level, and helps occupants to get the most out of their experience.
The coolest thing in the entire Library is the Book Bot.
The Book Robot
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!
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.
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!
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.