The Bookless Library?

Got a recent message from a fellow blogger (Dan Curtis) who forwarded an article from Time magazine that chilled my book-loving blood.  It was all about the bookless library. Yep, a library without books.  You heard me. For a book lover, this is not just nasty-sounding; it’s downright depressing.  There is Drexel University’s new Library Learning Terrace, a library with NO books at all, just computers and seats.  And there are half-way measures too:  the vaunted Stanford University trimmed all but 10,000 volumes from its engineering library. The article asks whether a library is really a library without books.  What an issue to debate: will it be the engineers and architects against old fogies like me who love the bound volume?  Two quotes stand out in this article:   One is from Michael Connelly, author of  The Fifth Witness.  He says the library is a “societal tent pole.”  Knock out the pole and the tent comes crashing down.  The other is from Norman Foster, the great architect: he is working on transforming the New York Public Library’s main branch, designing it specifically, he says, for “life beyond the book.”

Is there life beyond the book? Maybe.   But then … what sort of life?

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