Bookless Libraries
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    Posting Addict Finzmom4's Avatar
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    Default Bookless Libraries

    A friend posted this article on facebook, and I thought it would make for interesting conversation here, where we are all avid readers.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...079800,00.html

    We've been hearing about it for years, but the bookless library has finally arrived, making a beachhead on college campuses. At Drexel University's new Library Learning Terrace, which opened just last month, there is nary a bound volume, just rows of computers and plenty of seating offering access to the Philadelphia university's 170 million electronic items. Scott Erdy, designer of the new library, says open, flexible space — the furniture is movable and the walls act as one giant whiteboard — allows student and staff "knowledge transfer," a concept reinforced by Danuta Nitecki, dean of Drexel's libraries. "We don't just house books, we house learning," she says.
    The trend began, naturally, with engineers, when Kansas State University's engineering library went primarily bookless in 2000. Last year, Stanford University pruned all but 10,000 printed volumes from its new engineering library, making more room for large tables and study areas. And the University of Texas at San Antonio ditched print in lieu of electronic material when it opened its engineering library in 2010. (See the 100 best English-language novels of all time.)
    But when books disappear, does a library lose its definition?
    "The library is a societal tent pole," says Michael Connelly, best-selling author of The Fifth Witness. "There are a lot of ideas under it. Knock out the pole and the tent comes down." Connelly says that browsing through physical books brings inspiration of the kind that led him from wandering his campus library's stacks straight to a writing career. "Can something like that happen in a bookless library? I'm not so sure," he says.
    From a design perspective, some architects also lament the inevitable trend toward booklessness. Steven Holl, architect of Queens Library's new branch, in New York City, says books still provide character and are a nice counterpoint to technology. "Acknowledging the digital and its speed and putting it in relation to the history and physical presence of the books makes it an exciting space," Holl says. "A book represents knowledge, and striking a balance in a library is a good thing." (See "The E-Book Era Is Here: Best Sellers Go Digital.")
    But other designers, like Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas who designed the Seattle Central Library, seem inspired by the challenge presented by a world going bookless. His vertical "book spiral" can house over 1 million books while opening floor space for the "equal presentation" of emerging media.
    Others are hedging their bets that if the library isn't bookless now, someday it probably will be. The upcoming transformation of the New York Public Library's main branch "anticipates the parallel and integrated worlds of electronic digital systems and traditional books" as they complement each other in flexible space that can endure changes, says architect Norman Foster. And although he celebrates the analog world of printed books in his design of the brain-shaped library at Berlin's Free University, he places the stacks in the center of the curved, modern building with digital technology around them, allowing room to adapt "for life beyond the book."
    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...#ixzz1SqGo9ayK



    So, what do you think?

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    Posting Addict Finzmom4's Avatar
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    This makes me sad. I tend to agree with Connelly. I realize this is where we are headed, and I do like the idea of different formats for reading. I love my Kindle and I also listen to audio books, but I also still really enjoy going to my library and browsing the shelves. I just think there has to be a balance. I can see academic libraries and research resources going electronic. However, I don't want to read fiction sitting at a computer.

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    Yes, I agree with you, I hope we never go entirely electronic. I like the flexibility and environmentally-friendly-ness of electronic material. However, I like having a real book in front of me too. I like to read a few books at once, especially because I'll keep them in the locations I read them. For example, I have one book on the go for bed time that stays in my room, one for reading on the train that stays in my work bag, and one I read when I nurse my son that stays in my son's room. That way I don't forget to bring my book to work or forget once I have already sat down to nurse. What would I have to do - - own three kindles??? No thank you, lol.
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    Posting Addict Finzmom4's Avatar
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    I don't know about you, but I always feel a little on edge with my kindle too. I don't expect someone to steal regular books, and I'm far less worried about dropping them or having my kids get hold of them.

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    Verrrrry good points. Absolutely! More reasons why real books can't ever be 100% replaced.
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    Posting Addict Starryblue702's Avatar
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    This makes me sad also. I love going to the library and having thousands of books at my beck and call. There's something about the feel of a book in my hand that no computer screen or kindle could ever replace. To me there's no sense of accomplishment like there is when you finish a book. I really hope this doesn't happen everywhere...
    Krystal & Donovan - 12/2/06
    Reagan - 10/2/02
    Maximus - 3/10/05
    Liberty - 12/11/08
    Trystan- 11/22/11
    My angel in Heaven 1/7/13

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