Preparing Cartridges for Patrons

October 13, 2021 |
by: Jeff Wright

LAMP/Library of Accessible Media for Pennsylvanians creates multi-titled cartridges for its patrons through duplication on demand. This is a big and welcomed change from when the library could only send out one book title per cartridge.  Patrons can now receive an entire series, all on one cartridge!

To make this all happen, LAMP has two Gutenberg machines with multiple port racks to support 35 cartridges. All 35 USB ports can download audio books simultaneously. They are often filled at once since the library mails out approximately 620 cartridges each day!

LAMP has another piece of equipment to assist in this process called “The Robot”.  The Robot has five silos that are filled with cartridges. These silos feed cartridges into an automated process of cartridges being inserted into USB ports and ejected after download. LAMP was the second network library to receive the robot from the National Library Service (NLS) and the first to utilize its functionality. NLS’s Peter Woo came all the way to Pittsburgh just to install it.

LAMPs Materials Fulfillment Team work to maintain the equipment to ensure everything is functioning properly so that books can continue to be sent out to patrons.  Over the last two years, the Gutenberg machines have needed minimal maintenance. And recently, The Robot is malfunctioning with two of its silos. A long-time member of the Materials Fulfillment Team, Service Integration Lead Stephen McMillen has been working with NLS’s Peter Woo remotely to get the two silos operable again.

Stephen stated “Since the arrival of the Gutenberg Robot on October 22nd, 2019, this device has produced in the hundreds of thousands of titles on audio cartridges for Pennsylvania patrons.   Like any mechanical device it is prone to suffer the wear and tear of use.  As we should expect there will be a learning curve to its maintenance and mechanical repair.  As of the present there are two of the five channels in a non-operative state. I have been working with NLS Engineer Peter Woo to try to diagnose and repair the issues”.

Even though using new technology can take some time and attention, the dedicated LAMP Team embraces every opportunity to pilot new equipment and services that will best serve patrons.  LAMP works hard to ensure all equipment is maintained and working correctly and all materials are mailed on time.  Last year, 161,931 cartridges and 986,174 book titles circulated throughout Pennsylvania. And we hope to increase that number this year! If you have book requests or are interested in learning more about our service, contact the library today at 800-242-0586 or email






















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    Gutenberg Machine

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    The Robot