September 12, 2009
This week, Cushing Academy in Massachusetts donated all their library books. As their website says, "The Fisher-Watkins Library is currently undergoing a digital transformation. The Academy is replacing the majority of the library's printed books with electronic sources as a natural and integral outgrowth of the school's strategic commitment to becoming the national leader in 21st-century secondary education."(1)
As far as I can remember I loved the library. These were places where I borrowed all the Nancy Drew collection, the Narnia collection by C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume's "Are You there God, It's Me, Margaret?"
The air conditioner was always on at the library, and you could find a corner of the library where it was just yours, and no one would bother you while you flip through a magazine or a book.
Even today, we don't own a lot of books, instead I go to my local public library and check out mystery / detective books for my husband, quilting books for me, and movies.
Imagine not being able to browse the shelves, and touch the books?
I am one of those technologically savvy people, I embrace technology, I make technology work for me everyday. But, I think removing books from the library is going just a tad bit far.
In my humble opinion, it might just be a conspiracy with a technology firm where students will need to start carrying these things (whatever it is) where they can borrow books through these little hardware that they carry around. No more overdue library fines, because when they borrow a book they don't need to return it because it simply expires.
It's a fine idea, but where will our history go? When everything is digital, and when we have another ice age or a global eruption, there will not be any traces of paper left, but instead little fragments of chips and hard drives that are too brittle for the next homosapien species to figure out who we are and whatever happened to us?
What are your thoughts? Should we embrace this new concept of digital library? Should we start campaigning to save the books from digital destruction?
Quilt & Bitch
(1) Cushing Academy, Academics, Transforming Our Library <http://www.cushing.org/academics/library.shtml>