I visited North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus this weekend to check out the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library that was recently completed. The building was designed by Norwegian Architects Snohetta, and is a standout building on a campus of mainly nondescript metal panel and brick “technology” buildings. Most of the building’s space is dedicated to study areas, and it is furnished with a large selection of modern furniture.
But wait, where are all the books? There is some shelf space with reference books and periodicals, but the majority of the collection resides on the lower level of the library and is accessed by a mechanical “book-bot” that delivers metal book crates to the staff where they pull the individual volume and deliver it to the student. I’ve always been a fan of browsing the book shelves in a library, so I’m not quite sure how I feel about this method, but it is nice to see so much space dedicated to the student work areas.