Christopher Center, Valparaiso University

Robotic Publications Retriever, Valparaiso University

Automated Storage and Retrieval System

Perhaps the best representation of Christopher Center's integration of traditional library services with current technology is the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS). This combination of robotics and computer system has the capacity to store 300,000 files. Two stories high, the system features bins stacked along two aisles. Here the library's collection of materials that are used infrequently by students or faculty is maintained. Included are back issues of journals and government documents.

When one of the 60,000 items is requested, the robotic system locates and retrieves the publication in about 15 seconds. Using a bar code logged into it, the management computer system runs the robot and simultaneously registers the volume's current location in the one of its 1,872 bins. Designed like a combination car-jack and fork lift, the computer-controlled cranes move along the aisles and up or down the stacks of bins to retrieve the requested material and place it on a tray desk in the main circulation area. Provided by a gift from alumnus Herbert F. Stride, this automated storage and retrieval system is one of the first five installed for use in libraries in the nation.