Posted by: bluesyemre | December 30, 2015

A Real Page-Turner: #Libraries Battle For #Book-Sorting Championship


Once a year for the past five years, the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries have faced off against Washington’s King County Library in a battle of the mechanical book sorters. In the most recent hour-long sorting smackdown, King County reclaimed the world title.

Anthony Miranda is the manager of materials distribution services for the King County Library System and Sal Magaddino is deputy director of BookOps, the 191-person unit that processes books for the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries. He’s also a former captain in the New York Police Department. They joined Bill Littlefield.

BL: So whichever one of you came up with this grand idea for a competition should tell me how this whole thing started, please.

SM: I’d have to jump in there, Tony. You know, it’s funny, when New York Public Library started many years ago, when I started 10 years ago, we needed new technology for sorting because the volume of our resources was just too high. So we saw a YouTube video of the King County Library Systems that Tony posted up. We saw they had the technology. We flew out there. We saw it actually exists — it wasn’t a dupe.

BL: [Laughter] What a New York point of view! Your initial assumption was that it was a phony.

SM: [Laughter] Right, we couldn’t believe that anything could sort books that fast and, especially coming from the West Coast, who knew, right? We didn’t know. So once we got the machine up and running, then it was just a natural progression that we think we can do it better and bigger in New York.

Interview (mp3)

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