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Book-Carrying Drones in Libraries: Are They Real (Yet)?

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Book-Carrying Drones in Libraries: Are They Real (Yet)?


The idea of drones handling deliveries seems great. However, at an earlier point, we all must embrace drones in different scenarios. One of them is the idea of drones carrying books in libraries.

Even though it is far from what we know – and use our drones for right now – this idea is actually viable and can be implemented in many libraries around the world, especially the ones with huge amounts of books.

In fact, drones can prevent accidents by eliminating the need for employees to climb on stairs to pick up books – and with that reduce the time for a book to arrive to the selected user. Readers will definitely enjoy this system and benefit from it in a magnitude of ways.

Shifting the Paradigm of Drone Applications and Putting Them Closer to Libraries in Major Cities

A paper submitted by Francis Nath at the Rain Forest Research Institute in Assam, India focuses on this idea – and tends to shift the paradigm in drone applications. Far from their use in military missions, the author Nath is confident about promoting drones and their delivery features in libraries. That way, drones will be responsible for bringing information to the users in the form of books or other library documents.

As the abstract of the paper reads:

“A study is done on various elements of the drone facility, its payload capacity, the integration of such a facility with the library, the procedure of processing user requests via drone delivery, drone technology and procedure for making delivery, the regulations in India concerning flying of drones and the advantages and limitations of using drone delivery service.

It is an emerging technology that has yet to see its full potential in civilian platform. In today’s digital era with diminishing demand for physical books caused by electronic documents, drone delivery can breathe fresh air into the library services by bringing back the popularity of books and making them available to the users in the click of a button.”

The author begins by explaining the idea of drones carrying books and its benefits to the public. In times when drones are even designed to do greater things and perform many tasks that help our daily life, this can be an effective use of them in library.

Estimating the Costs and Requirements of Such Model

In addition to the cost and time savings, drones carrying books from libraries to homes can also help people to read more and gain access to the newest or most relevant materials that they want.

In densely populated cities, this idea fits in perfectly – whether it is a National Library or a District Library. Regardless of the central location, the factors of visibility and accessibility, as the author explains, are the ones that make this model convenient for people who are (not) willing to visit a library.

In the paper, the author also describes the average weight that drones can take, estimating it at 4.8 lbs (2.2 kg), as well as the price estimation considering that this would be a service and that there would be an initial cost of buying drones (estimated at $5,000 a piece).

Delivering Books to Home Addresses or Real-Time Locations Through GPS

The drones would be responsible for delivering the books either to the doorsteps of the users who ordered a book – or to their hands – irrespective of their location. Since they will be designed to deliver packages, the location won’t be a big issue – and can be configured to deliver books both in homes (user addresses) and to users based on their real time location via GPS.

When it comes to the actual requirements, the author points out to the need of a software:

“The first and foremost requirement for this service to work in a library is the availability of a library application software which can either be an extension of the Integrated Library Management Software used by the library or a different software designed specially to connect and communicate with the library’s ILMS interface.”

In the end, there are still many requirements regarding airspace, data storage, project testing and other aspects that need to be reviewed before such a system is actually considered by some of the largest libraries in the world. However, it is definitely a good sight of what the future may look like.

Citation:Library Drone Delivery Programme: A Study‘, Francis Nath, Rain Forest Research Institute, Deovan Sotai, Jorhat – 785 001, Assam, IndiaDESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, Vol. 38, No. 5, Sept 2018, pp. 349-353, DOI : 10.14429/djlit.38.5.12892

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Cite this article as: Stefan Tasevski, "Book-Carrying Drones in Libraries: Are They Real (Yet)?," in, September 24, 2018,

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