Kenyon Mythbusters–The Automated Library Shelves


It was a little like this

On the first floor of Chalmers Library all the way in the back, exists a set of automated shelves. To save space these shelves can move together and apart. They house old, little used books, as well as journals and other constantly updating publications. These shelves are mechanized and move back and forth with the push of a button. Yes, sounds a little dangerous doesn’t it, the possibilities for crushing enemies seem too great. But I had always heard that there existed a sensor system to prevent crushing. So I decided to check it out.


This myth is definitely confirmed. There is a little sensor (see the red light) about two feet off the ground that will stop the shelf from moving if it senses any movement. Any attempt to walk between the shelves while they are moving will cause an abrupt stop, thwarting your plans to drag your vanquished foe between the shelves to be finished off by their crushing power.

BUT, there does exist a way for you to beat the sensor. Because the sensor is placed in a static location and only surveys the edge of the shelf, if you leap over the sensor you can crush yourself between the shelves.* So, for the sake of accuracy, I, of course, had to prove my theory about tricking the sensors. Jumping from the top of a stool, I cleared the sensor and still heard the doors moving slowly towards me.


Don’t try this at home (AKA the library) kids!

Probably for the best, my partner in this venture stopped the shelves before they closed all the way. I did feel a bit of pressure, though I seriously doubt it was lethal**

My official stance is that this myth is busted, because the sensors technically do what they are supposed to do, but where there’s a will there’s a way (and I really wanted to see if I could crush myself today).

*Don’t try this, the Thrill does not endorse any attempts to thwart the movement sensors and absolves itself from any injuries sustained by doing what I did.

**Still don’t try it

4 responses

  1. Pingback: 10 o’clock list: Most Unsettling Places on Campus | The Thrill

Share your thoughts on this post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s