Chicago Public Library now has a collection of 500 robots for residents to check out.
The gadgets were donated by Google Chicago. The idea is to give residents of all ages a chance to experiment with the basics of computer coding.
With a growing interest in providing those basic skills in schools, perhaps this initiative will open up a new role for UK libraries too, though one can't help conjuring up the vision of robots checking themselves out and finding their own way back to the shelf as a natural development of automation in libraries.
They can be coded to move, make noises, light up and even draw, says NBC, who broke the story. The robots were invented by a lab at Carnegie Mellon University. They are set up for use with more than a dozen of the most commonly used computer languages. Users connect the robots to their home computer and download instructional tutorials.