What’s 6½ feet high, 6½ feet wide, 3½ feet deep, and 1,700 pounds on its lightest day? It’s the College’s new Robotic Book-Lending Kiosk, which made its debut at the start of the 2019–20 academic year.
Now, with a swipe of their ID card and verification of their network login credentials, Baruch students can borrow from among more than 200 high-demand textbooks. Think something like a Redbox movie rental kiosk, only with a higher IQ.
Located near the student lounge on the first floor of the Information and Technology Building—home base of the William and Anita Newman Library—the innovative kiosk is
the brainchild of Arthur Downing, PhD, vice president for information services and dean of the library. “Its purpose is to give students access to high-use textbooks when the library’s Reserve Desk is closed,” explains Dr. Downing, “especially during midterms and finals, when the building is open 24 hours and students need these textbooks the most.”
The kiosk also enables students to be served in a less-restrictive environment. Food and beverages are not permitted within the library itself.
Early feedback has been extremely positive, says Downing, who demonstrated the kiosk for Undergraduate Student Government leaders before the fall semester began. “It was an easy sell,” he laughs. “They loved the experience.” Attention to detail is a hallmark of the kiosk, which features customized glass doors that enable borrowers to view the machine’s inner
workings and eye-catching, step-by-step instruction “book covers” designed by students in the New Media Arts program.
But don’t let its pretty face fool you; this kiosk is a workhorse, designed for constant, heavy use. Baruch students lead the CUNY system—all 26 campuses—in the number of textbook loans per annum, according to University-wide data. Looking down the road, Downing predicts that the Robotic Book-Lending Kiosk will offer insight into the ongoing conversation of how best to embrace technology to improve the student experience.
Attention robot lovers: Always wanted to name your own bot? Now’s your chance. Contact the Office of College Advancement to learn about naming Baruch’s new Robotic Book-Lending Kiosk.