Chulalongkorn University Opens the First Unmanned Library in Thailand

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The Office of Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University, launched Chula UltimateX Library, the first unmanned library in Thailand on Thursday, November 26, 2020. The library is now dubbed as the first unmanned library that combines innovation in library management through automated service stations, with remote-controlled building management.

Prof. Dr. Bundhit Eua-Arporn, Chulalongkorn University President, presided over the online opening ceremony and delivered the opening speech.  Assoc. Prof. Dr. Amorn Petsom, Director of Chula Office of Academic Resources, then gave a welcoming speech and introduced the UltimateX Library.  Following the speeches was an award ceremony for the winners of the “Chula Library Brand Ambassador 2020” and the library naming contest.

Chula UltimateX Library is supported by Kasikorn Thai Bank under the CU NEX project.  The library is now dubbed as the first unmanned library that combines innovation in library management through automated service stations, with remote-controlled building management.

With the help of technology, library visitors can use the automated service stations with ease and get answers to information inquiries.  The communication systems and tools provided by the library are available thru remote consultation and the library’s opening and closing, control of the lights, air-conditioning, or even security can be controlled remotely at any time, anywhere.

“The library started off with a question in mind.  With the potential problems of limited staff and resources, would an unmanned library be possible?  Library management that uses less staff is flexible and relevant to the new generation’s lifestyle, in which they don’t want people to keep an eye on them”, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Amorn Phetsom about the history of the library.

Chula UltimateX Library houses under one roof resources and materials from the faculties of Psychology, Allied Health Sciences, Sports Science, Nursing, and Chula Graduate School, and is accessible to students of all faculties.  In doing so, the operating costs drop significantly, compared to maintaining separate libraries.  Plus, the library has flexible hours to meet students’ needs, especially during the holidays and exams, when library staff needs to be paid overtime.  Security, Wi-Fi service, and other amenities are also readily available.

“We want to invite students and the interested public to use the library services.  To do so, members of the public are required to present their IDs, just like at Chula Central Library.  At Chula, we would like to provide more automated libraries that do not require attendants and are flexible in giving services that uphold the standards of library services.  This includes security for library users that is at par with traditional libraries.  Hopefully what we have today will inspire further development of other libraries in the future”, Assoc. Prof. Amorn added.

The Office of Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University, will continue to develop modern, prototype libraries under the project to develop services of the future.  Some of the target improvements include opening the library every day of the week, providing common space for learning activities, and launching new applications to improve services that will meet current and future lifestyles.