Books are going, but are libraries still places to read?

After a piece in the New York Times about a school library trading in its books for a “digital center,” they gathered up some of the responses from students. Some were (for me anyway) quite heartening. I was happy to see that students have thought about the usability of digital textbooks, the difference between reading online and in print, and the different and nuanced purposes that libraries do and might serve. On one of my more critical days I might say they have thought about it more than many librarians.

The library is a place. A learning place. The Kindle, Nook, or iPad won’t change the library as long as things are learned.

One thought on “Books are going, but are libraries still places to read?

  1. Having lived through a period where my city regressed to the 1870’s in one morning and didn’t return to the 21stC for about 3 months and phone service wasn’t returned for much later, it is clear to me that impressed books, not the photocopied kind, will remain the most durable repository of human thoughts for a few more centuries. It is far more likely to me that books will soon contain electronic paper in addition to “dry” paper, for drill-downs, links and adverts. My cellphones, walkman players, stereo, modems, tv etc were just plastic junk until the power grid came back. Cooking in BarBQ pits with cast iron pots and washing up with a bit of bath water got old real fast. We have to plan for a time of less profligate use of electricity.