Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Library Is Getting Rid of Its Books -- All of Them

As we all know, the internet and electronic publishing are having a huge effect on the bookselling/publishing industry. Still, there was a news item earlier this week in the Boston Globe which I found shocking and a bit frightening:

A 144-year-old prep school is getting rid of every book in its library -- more than 20,000 in all -- and going completely electronic.

This was not the idea of some rogue librarian or teacher at Cushing Academy, the school in question. The decision was made by the headmaster, James Tracy, who was quoted as saying, "When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books."Check Spelling

So what will be in the new $500,000 "learning center" that will replace the library?
-- Three large flat-screen TVs that will project data from the internet
-- "Laptop friendly" study carrels
-- A $50,000 coffee shop with a $12,000 cappuccino machine

Also, eighteen electronic readers will be given to students "looking to spend more time with literature." The newspaper article doesn't say who these students are or how they will be chosen. And the rest of the students? They're on their own to find what they're looking for any way they can.

Is this the start of a trend? The executive director of the American Library Association is quoted in the article as saying he doesn't know of any other library that has taken this action. Teachers at Cushing Academy seem overall to be quite dubious. Of course the library -- excuse me, "learning center" -- in the end is for the students, and they may be perfectly happy with the arrangement.

Meanwhile, we will continue to sell items as we always have here at Accent on Scrolls.

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