Posts Tagged ‘books’
Over at the Boston Globe site they have an article about Cushing Academy Library doing away with physical books as they have decided to go all digital.
Instead of a library, the academy is spending nearly $500,000 to create a “learning center,’’ though that is only one of the names in contention for the new space. In place of the stacks, they are spending $42,000 on three large flat-screen TVs that will project data from the Internet and $20,000 on special laptop-friendly study carrels. Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.
And to replace those old pulpy devices that have transmitted information since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1400s, they have spent $10,000 to buy 18 electronic readers made by Amazon.com and Sony. Administrators plan to distribute the readers, which they’re stocking with digital material, to students looking to spend more time with literature.
Part of me wonder how cost effective this is over traditional books. I would think there that the available content would be overwhelmingly cost effective over buying the dead tree versions. But then again there is great quantities of digital content available to anybody with an internet connection and a netbook or digital reader. There are already digital library services like NetLibrary and Overdrive to greatly expand a library’s contents.
As a eBook and Audiobook publisher, as well as a POD publisher, you’d think I’d be thrilled at the thought of a bookless library. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach with the digital-only library. I think what bothers me is not that physical books could become unnecessary, but that libraries as physical places could be irrelevant. Why have a “learning center” at all? If all this info can reach you wirelessly, why go to a library? And that saddens me because I love going to libraries. Before surfing the net, I used to surf the bookshelves at my library. Nowadays, not so much. But libraries are transitioning with the times as a more social institution, at least that’s my hope.