"But for all their supposed obsolescence, libraries remain vital places, and many of them are more crowded than ever."
"The New York Public Library recently embarked on a controversial plan to move two to three million books off-site.
The New York Public Library (NYPL) retired its pneumatic-tube system sometime last year. It had been used to request books for more than a century. The New York Public Library opened in 1911 and that pneumatic call system had changed little since then. You still filled out a slip, and you still turned that slip over to a clerk, who would load it into a metal cartridge. The cartridge would be driven by air pressure to a station down in the stacks, where another clerk would retrieve your book, which was then sent back up to the call desk by a dumbwaiter. In recent years, this procedure would take about 20 minutes. In decades past, I’m told, it was closer to five."
Via Trudy Raymakers