September 4, 2009

The Future, They Believe, is Digital

"There are rolling hills and ivy-covered brick buildings. There are small classrooms, high-tech labs, and well-manicured fields. There’s even a clock tower with a massive bell that rings for special events.

Cushing Academy has all the hallmarks of a New England prep school, with one exception.

This year, after having amassed a collection of more than 20,000 books, officials at the pristine campus about 90 minutes west of Boston have decided the 144-year-old school no longer needs a traditional library. The academy’s administrators have decided to discard all their books and have given away half of what stocked their sprawling stacks -- the classics, novels, poetry, biographies, tomes on every subject from the humanities to the sciences. The future, they believe, is digital."

Read the entire article Welcome to the library. Say goodbye to the books.



Maria said...

Hmmm...don't know about this. I can see going completely digital for newspapers & magazines where they are quickly dated (& more easily accessible), but classic books I'd much rather read as a book.

Anonymous said...

Whenever advances are made with digitization of books there's a general outcry from those of us who love our paper books. I'm definitely in this category; my house could possibly be mistaken for a used book store. I absolutely agree that there is value in the sensual side of reading.

That being said, this is a school library we're talking about. The students have very specific needs from this facility. They have a syllabus to accomplish in a limited amount of time. Digitization offers a lot of practical solutions for students. I bet that very few of them are worried about "the dignity of the library" or "the serendipity of physical browsing". And since the library is supposed to be about serving the community, in this case the students, I think it's important to consider the most pragmatic approach for them. Is this it? Probably it won’t be possible to know for sure until it’s been tried.