J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah

Here is the slide show from my visit to the “U of U” in Salt Lake City. Yet another impressive academic library with an ASRS by HK Systems (called “ARC” Automated Retrievals Centre), who also showed me around their manufacturing plant and the Utah State Archives ASRS.

I must also thank the helpful staff of the U of U Library who were very generous with their time and in answering all of my questions.


Some pretty rough notes from my visit:
Trays/bins from the ARC are delivered straight up by the cranes. They have four cranes delivering about 2 million items in bins 6”, 9”, 12” & 18”. These bins are typical HK mini-load bins (or totes) and can cope with up to 750 lb loads. This is more than tightly packed paper (of any density) would weigh and they are tested for maximum load carrying capacity in the HK plant, also in Salt Lake City.

They have CD/DVDs in the lower 6” bins and are beginning to also include microform.

The trays only tilt about 5 degrees for the pickers as they are near the top of the system. It is 45 foot high crane.

They do not keep all serials in their runs and have not found this to be an issue.

They do not have spines facing up (none of the systems I saw in the US did), but the computer screens tell the pickers which zone o sector the item is in and then they must identify it themselves. Their zones are pretty full and they have to readjust the load of the zone before fitting some books in, or check it out again and note that the tray is full and re-store it elsewhere.

The Marriot Library did a “huge” library re-organisation to cope with the new library wing and the ARC. It has freed up much space and allowed for collection expansion. The ARC is attended by their Security, Circulation and Access Team. The ARC staff member who took us around the system said he had three days initially training and he had since learned more through daily use. Reference and loans staff estimate that only 5% of books used come from the ASRS. (I will email for through-put figures.)

They do not have RFID and are moving to ExLibris Primo as heir discovery and delivery system.

They undertook a 12 month intensive weeding program (completed in six months) before loading the arc totes and the library was continually kept open over the four year building and ARC-implementation program.

Reference Services staff say that a glass window so that (particularly new) students could understand the system would be useful. There are glass doors and walls, but they think students should be able to see the size/extent and working of the system including robotic retrievals in progress. A video camera showing the path of a requested book is desirable.

When walking around the Library I saw some excellent (& very popular) “Knoll” lounge chairs. See image on the Flickr set (above).

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