UMKC attempts to break Guinness World Record for largest robot dance

Sept. 27 event commemorates UMKC Libraries’ new book robot, begins homecoming week

In celebration of the new robotic retrieval system at the University of Missouri-Kansas City‘s Miller Nichols Library, UMKC will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing the robot dance at the same place and time. The current record of 429 was set by London’s Whitgift Independent School in May 2010.

The UMKC Student Government Association (SGA) is asking the general public, students, faculty and staff to participate in this free event, which kicks off UMKC’s homecoming week. The event is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. at the Stanley H. Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field near 51st and Cherry Streets on Monday, Sept. 27. In case of inclement weather, the event will take place at the University Center’s Pierson Auditorium, 5000 Holmes St.

Hot 103 Jamz disc jockey JT Quick will emcee the event, which will feature robot dance practice runs at 6:10 and 6:55 p.m., a five-minute robot dance at 7:15 p.m. and an ice cream social at 7:30 p.m. The first 400 participants will receive event T-shirts.

During the week leading up to the dance, SGA will host a dance preview at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 21 in the UMKC Quad (south of Scofield Hall, 711 E. 51st St.) and organize a robot-themed outfit day on Thursday, Sept. 23. Event participants will have the opportunity to donate to the YMCA Young Achievers program, which encourages minority high school students to pursue higher education and focus on professional careers. For more information about the robot dance, visit

The ceremony dedicating the Miller Nichols Library Robot Addition will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29 on the library’s Robot Plaza (west lawn), 800 E. 51st St. Chancellor Leo E. Morton will dedicate the building and Dr. Sharon L. Bostick, Dean of Libraries, will announce the robot’s name, which UMKC faculty, staff and students will vote on beginning the week of Sept. 13. The event is open to the public and everyone is invited for a robot demonstration between 4 and 6 p.m.

Miller Nichols Library is the 17th academic library in North America to install a robotic storage and retrieval system and the first in the region. Once the robot is fully loaded, it will hold about 80 percent of the library’s collection, freeing up space for student, researcher and community use. Renovation of the original library structure is underway. By the spring of 2011, the library will feature more areas for individual and group study, collaborative learning areas, a new space for presentations and performances and an expanded cafe. Though a significant portion of the collection will be stored in the retrieval system, more than 150,000 books, music recordings and other recorded materials will remain on open shelving and available for browsing.

Items stored in the robot’s various-sized shelving and storage bins take up only about one-seventh of the floor space used by conventional open-stacked shelving. By constructing the robot as an addition to the library’s existing structure, materials can be housed on-site and remain easily accessible. The robot has been built to accommodate an additional 15 years of growth. Storage in the retrieval system is environmentally-friendly and secure.

The robot’s manufacturer, HK Systems, produced the following video to explain how the robot works:

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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