The Dematic ASRS crane retrieves a box of books.

University Libraries & Dematic partner to provide scholarship opportunity for students

In conjunction with Mary Idema Pew Library’s 10th anniversary celebration , University Libraries is partnering with Dematic to offer a scholarship opportunity to GVSU students. The only requirement is providing the correct answer to one question about the library’s storage and retrieval system. 

Five individuals will be chosen to receive $1,000 each from Dematic. Entries are open until 11:59 pm on December 7, and all Grand Valley students are eligible. 

The question you have to answer is: What does ASRS stand for? 

“This is a good opportunity for students,” said Jason Durham, assistant dean of Resource Management and Administration with University Libraries. “It’s not every day that students have the chance to get a scholarship for $1,000, especially one that can be used for really anything. It could meet educational needs and go towards tuition and books, or it could go toward rent or food, whatever that student needs to get through the semester with a little more ease than before.” 

Dematic is a global company with more than 11,000 employees that has been located in Grand Rapids for more than 200 years. They build, design and support automated systems around the world, including the ASRS storage system in GVSU’s libraries that houses a large portion of their physical collection. 

“Grand Valley is a customer of ours, and we love engaging with a local university,” said Scott Knight, Dematic’s director of marketing and communications for the Americas Region. “It was just a perfect fit, and at the 10-year mark of the library system, we thought, why not?” 

A close-up of a box of books in the storage system.

Despite having their name on the large yellow crane that sits in the library, Knight knows that most students won’t think about the company behind the machinery. Offering a scholarship connected to the ASRS is “a cool and unique way to highlight that system,” while encouraging students to learn about their library and Dematic, Knight said.

“I think for us that’s one of the big pieces,” Knight said. “For students to know that there’s this large organization that works with these global brands: we have a huge footprint and we’re right in the backyard of Grand Valley.” 

The Dematic ASRS can be viewed in both the Mary Idema Pew and Steelcase libraries. The storage system houses the majority of the library's collections, including older books and less circulated items. Between the two locations, it can hold up to 800,000 books while leaving most of the floor space open for seating. “It gives the option for books to be on-site and available without sacrificing study spaces,” Durham said. 

Visit the University Libraries website to fill out the scholarship application. You can learn more about the ASRS system there, or stop by one of the libraries and ask a worker to show you the crane.


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