While many academic libraries are digitizing and moving holdings off site, Manseuto is the largest and latest to add automated storage and retrieval systems. Volumes are housed in solid steel cases about 50 feet below ground. Should someone want to actually touch the real thing, books are delivered through a labyrinthine system of cranes and elevators, reports The New York Times.

The $81 million Mansueto has capacity for 3.5 million volumes, freeing space in the cramped stacks that students browse at the main library...