Workshop on Library Innovation & Robot Usage – 30 Sept.

In 2016 the Library of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law (MPI) launched its Lab for Innovation, Knowledge and Exchange – LIKE.


LIKE is an informal meeting place for librarians to share ideas and knowledge, and to exchange information on leading practices. The library maintains an incubator of ideas, and as ideas mature we collaborate with colleagues, users, IT and technical experts to develop them from concept to implementation. User experience (UX) is very important to us and we encourage our researchers to share their library expectations and experiences and to comment on the topics discussed. We have also had great success organizing brainstorming sessions with our users to discuss library services and the collection. Brainstorming ideas become our blueprint for further development.



One of our LIKE projects focuses on the use of robots in libraries. We tested a robot’s ability to take inventory of the collection. Tory‘s trial runs exceeded expectations and inspired many ideas about future applications for robots in the library.


The use of a robot at the MPI library started at a practical level; its tasks were to take inventory and to find books. However, in a modern library there is a considerable range of tasks suitable for a robot. At present there are no robots that are designed especially for libraries, and in the few cases where robots have been adapted for use in the library, they are limited to only carrying out a specific task. It is conceivable, however, that the time will come when robots will be capable of multi-tasking.

The introduction of robots in libraries will allow us to keep the library open round-the-clock, seven days a week, offer precise and current information, provide library users with better services, and even entertain them; hence it is valid to ask whether robots will only assist librarians or actually replace them. With the introduction of robots, library staff will be relieved of certain repetitive tasks and as a result will have more time to get to know their users and more time to devote themselves to service-oriented work. Activities that require analytical skills, innovative concepts, inventiveness and psychological ability will continue to be the core duties of the professional library staff, whose greatest strength is and will remain being human.


The workshop will present the inventory test results and a live demonstration of Tory. The results of a recent survey “Robots in Libraries” will be shared and participants will take part in a brainstorming session on the future use of robots in libraries.