How Many Books? One Billion – and Counting

Glasses &Boooks

It’s an almost unimaginable number. Nearly one billion books are housed on the shelves of U.S. libraries. Despite the advent of e-readers like the Kindle and the iPad, the publishing industry adds an estimated 25 million to the tally each year. It seems the printed page isn’t going to be obsolete any time soon.

But the never-ending river of books has to be stored somehow, somewhere. Facilities like the Library of Congress are adopting modern high-density materials handling technology to store and track their books in purpose-built facilities (http://1.usa.gov/1dYsyhJ).  Others are looking to long-term storage with automated retrieval systems, particularly for collections that aren’t regularly accessed by scholars (http://bit.ly/1fsh3Vh). Library administrators can devote more areas to research and study space rather than shelf space, while these off-site storage facilities, with their emphasis on high density, are preserving the enormous written output of humanity for future researchers.

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