Over at Librarian's Place I came across a link to an article about a Chicago University Library using a robot to retrieve books from a warehouse-like set-up called a library, thereby creating efficient retrieval. One can see certain benefits. Books would not be lost, mishelved, damaged or hidden, at least one would hope. Any university student or librarian knows of the chaos that can occur in a library at paper writing time. Books everywhere. The shelves in disarray. Reshelving carts overflowing. Books with chapters sliced out. Bound periodicals in stacks and piles on the floor beside photocopy machines. At least those were my memories, dated though they may be.
To lose the on-site browsing ability, however, certainly guts the very life out of a library.
Perhaps the librarians can give the robots names, like Helena or Marius from Karel Capek's R.U.R., or Hadaly from Auguste Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, the guy who coined the word 'android'.
It would be nice if the robots were androids. One could listen to their complaints over a cup of coffee. They could sport reading glasses. And a cardigan. Those warehouses must be cold after all.