Culture

Pass It On: Check Out New York Public Library’s Big Book Sorting Machine

At your quaint local library, there's probably a huge robot in a room shooting lasers at books.

There’s something quaint and comforting about public libraries: endless shelves carrying weighty tomes; the stately silence demanded; the sheer, staggering amount of knowledge enclosed within those walls.

You are therefore forgiven if, when reserving a rare old book at your local library, you don’t imagine there’s a huge robot in a room shooting lasers at barcodes, noisily shuffling and sorting thousands of books an hour – and never experiencing real love. But at New York Public Library that’s exactly what happens; with 150 branches to service, a work experience kid and a row of plastic tubs won’t cut it for the city that never sleeps (and instead reads with a torch under the covers).

Film-maker Nate Bolt took a Go-Pro camera (a Hero3 plus a Phantom 2 with 3-axis gimbal, camera buffs) into the warehouse that contains this impressively-large machine and shot some drone footage.

The machine sorts through 33,000 items a day, and we’d like to think it is sentient enough to spitefully bend the spines of any copies of 50 Shades Of Grey it happens to comes across.