Since its inception in the 1960s, Grand Valley State University has grown by leaps and bounds. As it neared 25,000 students, it was overrunning the capacity of the library on its
main campus in Allendale, Michigan.

Grand Valley previously worked with Dematic to incorporate an Automated Library System (ALS) at its downtown Grand Rapids Steelcase Library. They again looked to Dematic for innovative, cost-effective results. 

The Challenges

Adding capacity for more books was really just the tip of the iceberg for Grand Valley. The university’s larger interest was to create a thoughtful, comprehensive solution for its entire library system. 

The existing ALS at the Steelcase Library had more than proved its worth, both in its function and as a technology show piece. (Patrons can see it operate though glass walls behind the main desk.) But for the new Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons, the ALS needed to do all that and more. 

First, the total number of items was much greater. Nearly 150,000 items needed to be transferred from the open shelves of the old library as well as nearly 180,000 from offcampus storage. There was also a greater variety of item types and sizes: books, journals, pamphlets, microfilm, music scores, LPs, and other media. 

Next, the ALS at the Pew Library needed to support a wide variety of patrons, from students to faculty to dedicated researchers. But all requested items needed to be delivered quickly and accurately.

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