Reading Coaster: NYC Public Library Installs Tiny Book Delivery Trains


A crafty reading railroad, this conveyor system helps bring up books from a series of research stacks and storage spaces hidden beneath Bryant Park, making the volumes available via a system of miniature trains.

This particular branch of the New York Public Library in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building houses millions of volumes, many of which are stored below the ground but now accessible at speed thanks to this new layer of internal technology.


This book train system looks a bit like a tiny roller coaster and is used to transfer materials seamlessly, quickly and automatically along the vertical-and-horizontal track system, carrying requested books directly to places like the Rose Main Reading Room.


Each cart (of which there are 24) can hold 30 pounds of reading materials and can climb 11 stories within the building to service various floors.


A pivot joint between the book-carrying basket and the main body of the cart allows the former to remain upright without spilling its contents while the latter tilts up to 90 degrees, carrying books straight up between levels.