Libraries going ‘bookless’

Does anyone else find this terribly disturbing? I’ve been reading about the trend for libraries to digitize themselves but this is unbelievable!

 “The headmaster of a central Massachusetts school that eliminated most of the books in its library says the move has worked well, turning the the library into a magnet for students and faculty. The school whittled the library’s stacks from 20,000 to 8,000 books, Tracy said in an interview today. Only about 1,000 books will remain after the two-year transition is completed by the end of this summer. The bookshelves that were exchanged for learning areas have created “exciting” social learning spaces for a generation that is “very much about networking,” Tracy added. Stanford University is also moving toward the creation of its first “bookless library.”   
Why throw ALL of the books out? Why can’t we blend what they are calling old and outdate (that would be the books!) with the new digital technology? It makes no sense that libraries are doing this without thinking of the consequences. If the power goes out or the Kindle breaks down, you can still read a book. You can drop a book and still read it. You can spill coffee on it and still read through the stain.

Digitizing the entire library makes books completely inaccessible for those who do not own computers or … perish the thought… simply want to check out a book to take home.

I’m not a Luddite. I love a lot of things about new technology, but I think there’s room for a different vision than this barren wasteland that has none of the smell or feel of a library.  This is truly the sad sheep of a tragedy dressed in digital wolves clothing.

6 thoughts on “Libraries going ‘bookless’

  1. This is a truly Horrifying thought for me….it reminds me of The Nothing in “The Never-Ending Story”….
    Without books I would be berect. I know this is true..I went to Greece a decade ago for 4 months to visit my best friend. As always I travelled with books (My motto: Have books, will travel 🙂 ) but after rereading them a number of times…I eventually got so frustrated that I started learning the greek alphabet just so that I could read something new again. So again, my love of books and reading gained me the knowledge of a new language…
    A world without books….I would have to become a rebel and go underground and do a blackmarket trade of books..LOL
    We have Save the Wildlife..and Save Nature groups….we need a “Save the Books” group….lets start one…

    Again a world without libraries or books….I shudder to think….that would be like a plant without rain.
    I agree, I love modern technology but nothing beats curling up on a rainy day with a book….I love library books too because there is nothing quite like the smell of an older book…Kindles, Laptops, Ipods, Ipads aside….since the time when people first scribed their stories on papyrus….books are a necessary good in this world!

    1. Greetings fellow bibliophile! I am fascinated by your story of learning to read Greek just so you’d have something to read!

      I’m glad to learn of someone else so passionate about saving books. I’d like to like there are more like us out ther and I’m thinking to start a FB group to raise public awareness about what’s happening.

      The Guardian Cats in my book are metaphors for protecting books and knowledge and I already have a Guardian Cats FB page. I’ll have to think about it–if I need to start a specific group or not.

      Stay in touch and look me up on FB. Thanks!

  2. People seem to think that we’re all rushing into a digital revolution, and that paper is a has-been. Well if my experience as a writer who has books to sell is anything to go by – that simply aint so. Despite being a fraction of the asking price of the paperbacks, the download versions of my books have sold exactly ONE copy. Now maybe only Luddites enjoy my type of humor, but it does suggest that pulped trees will remain in demand for a little while yet.

    1. Your feedback about the sale of one download was interesting. There’s more than a few of us who hope this nightmare scenario of bookless libraries doesn’t become a reality.

  3. Oh, god, this breaks my heart. As a education-survivor, I know all about the tendency to want to jump onto the latest/greatest bandwagon, only to discover a few years (and a few million dollars) later that it didn’t really work. But removing books from schools is nothing short of criminal.

    1. Kelly: Yes, this is criminal and absurd. What are they thinking? Libraries are about more than information. It’s the physical presence of the books that give it spirit and ambience and, like my Guardian Cats profess, “the smell of old paper and ink”.

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