May 23, 2022

California: “Meet BookBot: Mountain View Library’s Newest Robot Helper”

From the San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group:

Only in Silicon Valley will a robot return your library books for you.

Residents in downtown Mountain View have gotten their first peek at the future with the debut of BookBot, the library’s newest non-human helper. A creation of Google’s Area 120— an experimental division of the technology juggernaut [Google’s world headquarters (aka: Googleplex) is located in Mountain View] — the bot is the company’s first personal delivery robot to hit the streets and begin interacting with the public, said Christian Bersch, the project’s team lead.


The pilot will run for nine months with a human handler following behind the BookBot for the first six months, he said. That’s just to make sure it’s operating as planned, get it out of trouble as needed and observe how people are responding. After that, a human will sit behind the controls remotely.

From the BookBot FAQ:

Book Bot is a Library book pick-up device that will allow residents in a test area to return books and other Library materials to the Mountain View Public Library from their home once a week.


BookBot currently operates every Thursday between 11:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. The device will be equipped with headlights to operate after sunset. Book Bot will not operate during rain, hail or similar conditions.

Read the Complete Article

UPDATE: The BookBot Pilot Project is No Longer Operational

See Also: The Engineers Behind Google’s Bookbot Have Launched A Delivery Robot Startup (via TechCrunch; Feb. 11, 2020)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.