The Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre will be unavailable, effective Thursday, November 6, due to unexpected technical issues. 

We are working on the issue to resume service as soon as possible. 

We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Update: As of 6 p.m., the ASRS is back up and running. Thank you for your patience.

The Library’s Automated Storage & Retrieval System (ASRS) is currently affected by a technical problem. 

Some items are not retrievable at this time. Borrowers are advised to check in advance by phone (604-822-8149) on the status of items requested from the ASRS.

We are working to restore full functionality as soon as possible, and appreciate your patience. 



Update as of July 18

This issue has now been resolved. Thank you for your patience!

The Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre will be unavailable, effective Wednesday, June 19, due to unexpected construction related issues. 

Service is expected to resume on Thursday, June 20.

We apologize for the inconvenience. 

 THE University of Chicago’s new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is a futuristic bubble of a building with nary a stack in site. Many of its nearly one million items — special collections, journals, dissertations, documents — can be accessed online.
But while many academic libraries are digitizing and moving holdings off site, Manseuto is the largest and latest (of about two dozen libraries) to add automated storage and retrieval systems. Volumes are housed in solid steel cases about 50 feet below ground. Should someone want to actually touch the real thing, books are delivered through a labyrinthine system of cranes and elevators. Picture the door-sorting machine from Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.” The $81 million Mansueto (Mr. Mansueto founded Morningstar) has capacity for 3.5 million volumes, freeing space in the cramped stacks that students browse at the main library. And in apt example of the tug and pull on today’s library, Mansueto has a lab for both digitization and conservation. It mends paper and rebinds the university’s books — some of them papyrus — when it’s not cleaning and preparing materials for scanning, some for its partner, Google Books.  



1. Book is requested using online catalog.

2. Five cranes run along parallel tracks; one is activated and locates materials using bar codes.

3. Crane removes appropriate container — one of nearly 24,000, each weighing up to 200 pounds — and transports it to an elevator, which lifts it to the resource desk.

4. Human retrieves and scans book’s bar code, initiating e-mail notification to student.

Time elapsed: Five minutes or less.        

Click here for the New York Times article written by Jaywon Choe. 

The top tips for UBC Library appear in the latest issue of UBC Reports, ”Back to School and In the Cloud” (UBC Reports | Vol. 57 | No. 9 | Sep. 1, 2011). The item appears below, and can also be found on the UBC Reports website.

Top 10 tips for connecting with UBC Library, without setting foot in the stacks

10 Learn to be a better student with Study Toolkits—topics include time management, note-taking and exam prep
9 Boost your academic endeavors with tools, spaces, workshops or sit on the Student Library Advisory Council at the Okanagan’s Learning Commons
8 Call on the Library Robot (aka the Automated Storage and Retrieval System) to fetch a book, a journal, a map or a vinyl record on the Vancouver campus
7 Find research and teaching materials, including 28,000 retrospective UBC theses and dissertations on cIRcle, UBC’s information repository—or contribute your own
6 Peruse letters by Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale in the ever-growing digital collections
5 Tour the sacred sites of Burma or peer into the psychology of gambling guided by Webcast lectures
4 Hear Canadian writers Timothy Taylor, Matthew J. Trafford and Linda Besner read from their works this month in the Robson Reading Series
3 Visit the historic Chung Collection and put yourself in the shoes of an early immigrant to B.C. from China
2 Read what more than 20 UBC librarians are saying in the blogsphere
1 Make UBC Library part of your social network: @ubclibrary

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