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Automated Retrieval System (ARS)

The Automated Retrieval System (ARS) delivers on-demand access to hundreds of thousands of items.

In 2011, library staff created a short movie to show the ARS in action.

About the ARS

  • Commonly referred to as 'robots', three cranes move up, down, and across the rows of metal bins to retrieve items that are requested electronically.
  • Covering 8,260 square feet, there are 11,328 bins in 3 aisles. Each aisle has two sides and each side has 59 columns. Each column has 32 bins.
  • Construction for the ARS began as the first phase of the new library in October 2003 and was completed in January 2005. 
  • To see the ARS in person, visit the ARS Viewing Room on the second floor of the Learning Commons and Library.

Requesting an item from the ARS

While searching in OneSearch or OSCAR, click on "Request from ARS" to request an item that's located in the ARS. Typing your full name (last name, first name) makes it easier for staff to help you when you pick up the items.

The processing time will vary depending upon how many books are being retrieved, but it generally takes 10 minutes for items to be delivered to the holdshelf. Materials requested after the last retrieval of the evening will be available after the first retrieval of the next morning. Items requested from the ARS are kept on the holdshelf for 24 hours after they are retrieved.

ARS Retrieval Schedule

  • The first retrieval is a half an hour after opening.
  • The last retrieval is a half an hour before closing.
  • There are no additional ARS deliveries during final exam extended hours.

A small percentage of the items in the ARS cannot be requested via OSCAR and must be requested at the Library Help Desk. These include items from Archives & Special Collections and some Government Documents. Items from Archives & Special Collections are retrieved on their own schedule.

Statuses for ARS Items

  • ARS DELIVERED - item has been requested and is ready for pickup
  • AVAILABLE - item can be requested
  • IN TRANSIT - item is either being transported to the holdshelf or returned to the ARS

If you have questions, please contact the Library Help Desk (, 408-554-5020) for more information.

Learning Commons and Library, Floor 2, ARS Viewing Room

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