As a Kindle enthusiast, I found the following news not only jarring but very sad, since I imagine that most Kindle users will be people who love books.
At first I thought the story couldn't be true, but a sample statistic they give of actual usage of the library was also grim.
The Boston Globe's David Abel reports on the mind-boggling decision by Cushing Academy administrators to discard all their books in favor of a digital future. James Tracy, headmaster, sees books as "an outdated technology, like scrolls before books."
The academy will spend $500,000 to instead create a 'learning center' -- with reading stacks replaced by "three large flat-screen TVs" projecting Internet data and by "special laptop-friendly study carrels."
In place of the rejected books will be "18 electronic readers made by Amazon and Sony," which will be stocked with digital material. Those with no access to e-readers will be expected to do research and read assigned text on their own computers.
' Instead of a traditional library with 20,000 books, we’re building a virtual library where students will have access to millions of books," said Tracy, whose office shelves remain lined with books. “We see this as a model for the 21st-century school."The feeling is not universal there. Librarian Liz Vezina says she never imagined being the director of a library without books. And ...
' Alexander Coyle, chairman of the history department, is a self-described "gadget freak" who enjoys reading on Amazon’s Kindle, but he has always seen libraries and their hallowed content as "secular cathedrals." ... A lot us are wondering how this changes the dignity of the library, and why we can’t move to increase digital resources while keeping the books. "
But there are others who are in step with headmaster Tracy:
' "We see the gain as greater than the loss," said Gisele Zangari, chairwoman of the math department, who like other teachers has plans for all her students to do their class reading on electronic books by next year. "This is the start of a new era." '
Others lament the decision, of course. But here are other views that were also surprising, and the sample statistic I mentioned is also shocking to me:
' Yet students at Cushing say they look forward to the new equipment, and the brave new world they’re ushering in.Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
Tia Alliy, a 16-year-old junior, said she visits the library nearly every day, but only once looked for a book in the stacks. She’s not alone. School officials said when they checked library records one day last spring only 48 books had been checked out, and 30 of those were children’s books.
"When you hear the word ‘library,’ you think of books," Alliy said. "But very few students actually read them. And the more we use e-books, the fewer books we have to carry around."
Jemmel Billingslea, an 18-year-old senior, thought about the prospect of a school without books. It didn’t bother him.
"It’s a little strange," he said. "But this is the future." '
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.
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