NYC Public Libraries Now Sort Books by Rube Goldberg Machine

Recommended Videos

Okay, so it’s actually a rather high-tech conveyor belt/laser scanner combination, but still.  It’s two-thirds the size of a football field!

The sorter is housed in the newly renovated Library Services building, a renovated warehouse in Queens.  The push to automated sorting was made when the Library found it could no longer recruit a full-time sorting staff.  The job was just too boring.

Now, according to Salvatore Magaddino, who “oversees the distribution of materials” for the Library, one seven hour shift with the sorter can do an amount of work that used to take two days with three times the staff.  This allows the library to turn around all of its returns and branch requests within 24 hours of them being delivered to the Services Building.

From the New York Times:

On one side of the machine, which is two-thirds the length of a football field and encircled by a conveyor belt, staff members place each book face-down on a separate panel of the belt. The book passes under a laser scanner, which reads the bar code on the back cover, and the sorter communicates with the library’s central computer system to determine where the book should be headed. Then, as the conveyor belt moves along, it drops the book into one of 132 bins, each associated with a branch library.

The NYT has video of the machine in action, with commentary from Mr. Magaddino.  The way he pronounces sorter as “sawter” makes this New Jersey native feel at home.

The video can be found here.  If we were in charge of it, though, we would have picked slightly different music

(via Neatorama.)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson in ‘Her’ Shut Down Following Backlash
joaquin phoenix wearing glasses with a mustache in her
Read Article Surprising No One, All 3,878 of Elon Musk’s Cybertrucks Are Being Recalled
Elon Musk during a T-Mobile and SpaceX event
Read Article ‘Mamma Mia!’ Star Sara Poyzer Says a BBC Production Replaced Her With AI
Sara Poyzer performs at the Magic at the Musicals event in 2019
Read Article In Moment of Unbelievable Irony, Midjourney Accuses Stability AI of Image Theft
Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man, who is pointing back.
Read Article Elon Musk May Be the Lesser of Two Evils in This Legal Battle With OpenAI
Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala
Related Content
Read Article ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson in ‘Her’ Shut Down Following Backlash
joaquin phoenix wearing glasses with a mustache in her
Read Article Surprising No One, All 3,878 of Elon Musk’s Cybertrucks Are Being Recalled
Elon Musk during a T-Mobile and SpaceX event
Read Article ‘Mamma Mia!’ Star Sara Poyzer Says a BBC Production Replaced Her With AI
Sara Poyzer performs at the Magic at the Musicals event in 2019
Read Article In Moment of Unbelievable Irony, Midjourney Accuses Stability AI of Image Theft
Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man, who is pointing back.
Read Article Elon Musk May Be the Lesser of Two Evils in This Legal Battle With OpenAI
Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala
Author
Susana Polo
Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.