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Drop everything: New York Public Library is getting a book train

The new conveyer system at the Fifth Avenue branch will begin service October 5

When the New York Public Library’s Rose Reading Room reopens after a two-year renovation at its Fifth Avenue branch on October 5, there will be a highly efficient addition welcoming visitors—a "book train." That’s what the NYPL is affectionately calling its new conveyer system, designed by Gensler, which will transport books from its newly-expanded storage facility below Bryant Park to the library.

The system itself will go live beginning the week of October 3, and the train will then be able to deliver materials to two locations in the library—one on the first floor, and the other at the Rose Reading Room come October 5.

This "book train" contains a total of 24 individual cars that run on rails and can travel both vertically and horizontally. The train will pick up materials from the Milstein Research Stacks, which is now spread out over two levels and can hold four million volumes of research materials, and make its way to the main library.

The trip from the stacks to the Rose Reading Room takes about five minutes, but this could potentially take longer with materials as the library staff has to load them on to the train first after they receive requests.

Some fun facts about this train: Each of the cars can carry up to 30 pounds of material, they move at 75 feet per minute, they can be tracked using electronic sensors, and they were built at a cost of $2.6 million.

"Our priorities include preserving our materials and making them increasingly accessible to the public in an inspiring space for research," Matt Knutzen, the director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Divisions within the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, said in a statement. "Our recent storage expansion, our restoration of the Reading Room, and the installation of this system are all elements of that work."

Now check out the train in action (courtesy of NYPL and Gothamist).

New York Public Library

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