Local News

NCSU's Hunt Library hailed as a modern marvel

Posted August 13, 2014

The James B. Hunt Library on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus is a traditional library in many ways. There are quiet places to study and plenty of books.

But this is no ordinary library.

“When you see a bookbot down in the basement delivering books, you realize you're not in a 19th- or 20th-century library anymore,” library Communications Director David Hiscoe said.

The high-tech Library has been open only 18 months, but it’s already attracting attention from around the world. It was named among the “coolest” libraries in America by Business Insider and featured in Wall Street Journal as inspiration for the renovation of the New York Public Library.

“All of a sudden, N.C. State and this area has become a locus for people talking about what's changing in research and how education is done in the United States,” Hiscoe said.

As it sets the global standard for modern libraries, Hunt's users are grateful to have it in their own backyard.

“It's a very unique resource and we're lucky to have it here at N.C. State,” said John Slankas, who is working toward his doctorate in computer sciences.

The library cost about $115 million to build and draws about 3,500 people a day during the school year.


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  • Larry Hatch Aug 20, 2014
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    Every field of study has a component of historical research to it...history of science, history of business, history of warfare, etc. There is no history without millions of old, bound books; only about 7% are now digitized. No one is an expert in anything without first learning from their field's history. The Naval Academy if not the ROTC spends weeks teaching naval history and tactics from old literature before an officer is ready for command of a ship or fleet. I guarantee that every Special Ops warrior who went to Afghanistan or Iraq read more than one printed doc on Middle East culture, language, and customs. Without a historical grounding from real, tangible books, we will remain mediocre and not a rounded, complete expert in anything.

  • senorbonehead Aug 18, 2014

    Just remember, it's a library, so it doesn't make any money. I wonder how long it'll last once the legislature gets bored of funding it.

  • Anita Woody Aug 14, 2014

    I'd also like to add that this is taxpayer money well spent. Not only are we building a much needed library for the world-class engineering and textiles schools at NCSU, this is the kind of place the Governor and Mayor of Raleigh can bring business leaders to to showcase Raleigh as innovative, forward-thinking, and advanced. This kind of thing brings jobs - and high paying jobs. It's more than a win for students, it's a win for the State of NC as an economic engine.

  • Dethklok Aug 14, 2014

    I wish there were like buttons Anita. Those that don't know don't know. Nothing as good a speculation to draw an uniformed conclusion. Look at all the glass.........

  • JennyB Aug 14, 2014

    Nailed it Anita!

  • Anita Woody Aug 14, 2014

    3D printers are available for students to not only design something on their computer but make it. Just lat year, 1 student made a new peanut butter jar on the 3d printer, patented it and is now making millions. He designed a jar on the printer that keeps the peanut butter always at the top of the jar so you dont get it on your fingers when dipping. As far as the glass. Well it's not typical glass. Take a tour and learn about it. It's not an HVAC nightmare. It's a silver leed building that uses highly efficient chilled beam and radiant panel HVAC system. The glass has special markings to keep out UVB and UVA while still letting in light. I suggest you and anyone else take a tour. The librarians are happy to do that for you and they will show you the amazing one-of-a-kind features that the library for this century should have.

    Books. lol. I still get a good laugh at that.

  • Anita Woody Aug 14, 2014

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    You couldn't be more wrong. Most students very rarely use a book anymore sans writing a research paper. Books are outdated by the time they go to publishing. The books are stored away to give more space for collaborative learning. This library is built for this century, where students learn by collaborating- white boards abound. And have you sat in the chairs? They're comfortable and conducive to long periods of reading and working on laptops. Students designed and came up with chairs themselves. Go to this library at midnight any night of the week- it's packed with students studying together. There are technology immersion rooms so students can learn by doing, not reading a book from 1973. The NAVY has an immersion room set up like the deck of an aircraft carrier. Flip the switch and your at any port in the world. Push a button and you can change the weather conditions.

  • SaveEnergyMan Aug 14, 2014

    It is ugly on the outside and the inside looks like an Ikea store exploded on the set of the Jetsons, For crying out loud it's an engineering library, not a architecture/design library.

    Most students I know don't care about the innovative look - they need space to study and access to books. Both could have been accomplished for a lot less money and a more conservative design.

    Taxpayers footed the bill for much of this monstrosity and will continue to pay for the inefficient design through higher utility bills (glass is awful from an HVAC standpoint) for years to come, Modern marvel? - I think irresponsible art project.

  • maryallison1 Aug 13, 2014

    ...not a fan of modern. But what is ugly to me, may be attractive to others. The book delivery system seems amazing though