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New England Prep School Library Goes Entirely Digital

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the hope-they-have-kindles-for-checkout dept.

Books 168

An anonymous reader writes to mention that Cushing Academy has decided to leap into the future by getting rid of all the books in their library and going completely digital. Instead of dusty stacks, the library is spending close to half a million dollars to install all the hallmarks of a digital learning center. Flat screen TVs, "laptop friendly carrels," and a coffee shop are just the first step in building an area that allows students access to millions of books as opposed to several thousand. Of course, not everyone is completely sold on this move: "[Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of the American Library Association] said the move raises at least two concerns: Many of the books on electronic readers and the Internet aren't free and it may become more difficult for students to happen on books with the serendipity made possible by physical browsing. There's also the question of the durability of electronic readers. 'Unless every student has a Kindle and an unlimited budget, I don't see how that need is going to be met,' Fiels said. 'Books are not a waste of space, and they won't be until a digital book can tolerate as much sand, survive a coffee spill, and have unlimited power. When that happens, there will be next to no difference between that and a book.'"

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168 comments

sad (3, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317441)

I love computers, but I love books. This makes me sad.

Re:sad (2)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317587)

Yep, nothing says a nice evening home alone like "curling up next to the fire with the kindle"....

Oh wait. I would hate that. I already "read" a screen for 9+ hours a day, why the hell would I want to do it for recreation* as well?

*I'm not in school, any reading I do these days that isn't research is done via paperback.

Re:sad (1, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317739)

Wow, troll? Me thinks someone needs to actually READ what I wrote.

Re:sad (2, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318075)

Wow, troll? Me thinks someone needs to actually READ what I wrote.

I think a paper-hater must've gotten mod points... can't we all just, you know, get along?

Re:sad (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317879)

So what are you doing here reading slashdot instead of curling up next to the fire with a newspaper and writing letters to editors instead of commenting on blogs. Nobody is taking away your books, candles, LPs or fireplaces. It's just most people prefer central heating, electric lights MP3s and digital text when efficiency is needed.

Paper vs. phosphor (2, Insightful)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317813)

I buy lots of books. And when I get access to pdf files that are user manuals, I frequently print them. Sorry, but I just don't like reading from a computer screen. I do it all day already.

Yes, digital media is superior in many ways, but I find it easier to browse a printed document than a digital document. Perhaps it's merely a matter of technology; browsing on a computer is not as easy.

And, I agree that browsing through books on shelves allows for serendipity. Weird, sometimes out-of-print books show up on library shelves and turn out to have unexpected value. Doing a family genealogy in Seattle, I came across a little book about grave markers in Shelby Co, Ohio. Yup, some ancestors were in that book.

Re:Paper vs. phosphor (1)

7213 (122294) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318033)

This I can not understand: you print you're PDF manuals?

Most PDF manuals I get are very well bookmarked and emenantly searchable.... How is killing a tree 'easier to browse'?

To me, this is simply an unwillingness to embrace a different way of doing things not a realistic evaluation of what's easier.

I much prefere teh computer screen, I have many & they are always near me... I read 75% of Atlas Shrugged from a .txt file. If I can do that, I think you can stop wasting paper for manuals.

Re:sad (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317913)

If eBook readers would be more solid and common place with everybody owning them and the whole copyright trouble and DRM issues with eBooks would be solved I could see some point in getting rid of paper books, but doing such a thing today sounds like madness. One just as to look at the numbers: They replace 20.000 books with 18(!) eBook readers...

Touchscreen tablet + oled (+power source) (1)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318693)

if we can get both (or all three), you could find yourself with a nice Star Trek tablet in you suit pocket.

Thinner (Oleds), can be ruggerized, with a nice modern multi-touch interface a la Windows7 / apple iphone, wifi + cell phone + bluetooth, webcam with autofocus and tracking, throw in a 30 feet IR emitter and a RF and you have the ultimate companion.

Ah yes. Lasers. I forgot them !
holographic messaging !
drools...

all of this is possible today. might be expensive, but :
10 inches OLEDS exist since late 2007,
the rest can almost all be put on a single chip + a 3D chip.
a full holographic system would need a lot of power. Add in special glasses as they do now for 3d TV, and your tablet becomes 3d.
Add in "augmented reality" in the glasses (they do small lasers in silicon now...for projection and tablet interaction/ movement tracking) and you have the future as far as you can hope this century.

(happy owner of a Sony ereader prs-505, avid reader, geek...)

Re:sad (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318697)

And to replace those old pulpy devices that have transmitted information since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1400s, they have spent $10,000 to buy 18 electronic readers made by Amazon.com and Sony. Administrators plan to distribute the readers, which they're stocking with digital material, to students looking to spend more time with literature.

Those who don't have access to the electronic readers will be expected to do their research and peruse many assigned texts on their 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."

Seems to me that whoever wrote the summary and the guy who is quoted don't get what's going on. Reading a good old book might have its charm, and something I personally enjoy immensely, but with an eye for education, research and the future, a "virtual library" were you can, potentially, search through an index instantly, and even search and cross-reference passages from different works have quite a few practical advantages. Among which is that the number of students that can access any specific work is limited only by the numbers of computers and readers availible; and not by the number of copies in stock.

Terrible idea (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317443)

Let the Ministry of Truth references fly.

Anyway I can get any book I want digitally already. I go to the library to get a real book to take to waiting rooms and restaurants and such.

Re:Terrible idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29317545)

Let the Ministry of Truth references fly.

Stick it in yer memory hole.

Re:Terrible idea (3, Interesting)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317857)

My son's middle school was built at the height of the 'dot-com' craze. It did not have real library (broom closet) just a bunch of computer labs. Two years ago they refit three of the classrooms next to the 'library' and built a real library full of real books.

Re:Terrible idea (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318707)

My son's middle school was built at the height of the 'dot-com' craze. It did not have real library (broom closet) just a bunch of computer labs. Two years ago they refit three of the classrooms next to the 'library' and built a real library full of real books.

Indeed. In a few years, the Prep School will end up regretting getting rid of those books, as they budget money for new books for their new library.

Re:Terrible idea (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318241)

Let the Ministry of Truth references fly.

Your attitude is double-plus ungood. Please report to the Minstry of Love for retraining.

Re:Terrible idea (1)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 4 years ago | (#29319467)

Anyway I can get any book I want digitally already.

O'Really? Willing to go online Safari but not into the stacks for a classic, eh?

Joking aside, it's inevitable that new books will be only digital, though that'll take decades to manifest around the entire world.

Books are good (3, Interesting)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317465)

Everyone knows you can't beat a book, when you are off grid, but while on grid an ebook is far superior. Libraries are veïry much on grid and should not just contain lots of books, they should make it easy and free to access all this data that is locked up in DRM. We are stuck with DRM at the moment maybe libraries could help us get sane access to the books encumbered with them.

Re:Books are good (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317653)

I hate DRM as much as the next guy but libraries seem like one of those cases where it's either DRM or no digital content at all. Without DRM I doubt that many books would be copied less than a hundred times a year per library-owned copy. It's absolutely not going to happen for commercial publishers and not going to happen with most academic publishers either.

Re:Books are good (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317713)

DRM is despicable, it's even worse for libraries. Being able to access DRM-less book on library systems would be very important for an e-library to work. You can't have instant access to all book in your home (because of publishers) but you should be able to have this in an Library.

I rather not have ebooks if they are DRM:ed.

Re:Books are good (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317783)

Wait that makes no sense. You just want to be able to access ebooks with no DRM from library computers? If it's from a library computer why do you care if they're DRMed or not? A non-DRM library system out of which you can't get ebook data is functionally equivalent to a DRM library system.

Getting data out of the locked down non-DRM system does sound like a fun problem though. Maybe you could manually type in and compile a QR code [wikipedia.org] generator and hold up your phone and record a video of the screen while it flashes the data past :)

Re:Books are good (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318011)

Yeah maybe it's stupid but I want DRM-less access to books, it doesn't matter if the terminal has no net connection, as long as a I can do analysis on it.

Mmm, QR codes, I've tried that, turns out taking good quality photos of a screen is harder than it looks.. :-) Meaning it's almost easier to photograph-scan a book than to use QR-code. (Though I've only did the QR thing for 10 minutes, and I've spent 10 days scanning books with a camera [instructables.com] , so I guess it will probably work if you spend some time on it).

Re:Books are good (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318035)

This doesn't make any sense. A library book or DVD can already be checked out free of charge many times per year and yet bookstores are still around. Why would digital content be any different? Are you saying the MAIN reason people buy a book/movie is because a library copy is checked out or needs to be returned in two weeks?

Re:Books are good (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318115)

No they buy stuff because they want to collect them. If you can just download all books in a library some ppl would do this.. :-)

They better watch out! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317469)

The Gutenberg brothers are coming . . . and they won't be happy.

Re:They better watch out! (1, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317645)

In Soviet Russia ... this doesn't happen ;)

Coffee Shop? (1)

TenBrothers (995309) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317475)

A coffee shop in a prep school library? I've been away from New England for a while, but is this that common?

Re:Coffee Shop? (2, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317723)

absolutely. Nothing says proper education like monetization of a captive audience with the twin addictions of caffeine and sugar... In public schools they now have vending machines and snack patrols for those who need candy in the five minutes between class, but don't have the athleticism required to walk all the way down the hall and back.

Re:Coffee Shop? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318537)

No, they don't. My school had ONE teacher that sold suprisingly healthy muffins between classes at a fixed location and the rest of the "vending machines" were $2 per mini-gatorade ripoffs.

Re:Coffee Shop? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318967)

I am sure that not every school has them. I should note that the last high school I was in was in the state of Mississippi, one of the top states for obesity and one of the bottom states for education. That may throw some bias on this topic for me.

Re:Coffee Shop? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#29319359)

Florida.

Re:Coffee Shop? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29319327)

Not wildly; but, for a subset of New England prep schools, the competition between secondary schools to build new infrastructure is very similar to the competition between colleges(and, at some of these places, the endowments aren't so far of, either).

Coming to a former library near you... (3, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317479)

I guess they couldn't fit the starbucks in with all those shelves taking up space.

Re:Coming to a former library near you... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29317611)

Not to mention, doesn't selling caffeine to students qualify as pushing drugs? Oh, I forgot -- caffeine is on the list of officially government-approved recreational drugs.

Re:Coming to a former library near you... (2, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317869)

Using caffeine to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the system isn't going to help you get your recreational drug of choice to be government approved.

Re:Coming to a former library near you... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318761)

I don't see why not. Have you read the AMA reports on the side effects of caffeine? If you discovered coffee today and tried to get it approved, it would be illegal. It's only because half of the anti-drug campaigners are addicted to caffeine (and freshly ground coffee tastes sooooo good) that it's remained legal. My recreational drug of choice is legal, but that doesn't stop me from seeing the hypocrisy of my fellow addicts who push for drugs with similar or lesser medical effects being criminalised.

I find it easier ... (3, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317487)

... to read a book on paper than on a computer screen.

Re:I find it easier ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29317709)

The question is how long have you been doing it?

Younger generations have an easier time adapting to new technology. It's just nature and we have to cut the cord sooner or later.

Re:I find it easier ... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318377)

That is what e-ink is trying to correct.

Re:I find it easier ... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318785)

I find it easier to read a book on paper than eInk too, but only just. The big advantage eInk has is that I can pack enough fiction to last a month and a decent reference library onto a device that almost fits in my pocket. The big disadvantage is that I can't use it in the bath.

The Paper Book Remains King (4, Insightful)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317499)

As I look around my room I see all the books that I have finished or want to read. When I have finished a paper book, I see the pages dwindling as I reach the end. The book has weight and after I've read it I feel that heft and know that I've done something worth while.

I don't have a kindle and doubt I would ever buy one. I love turning physical pages. I like the durability. I like that I can have four books going and open at the same time. I like the book jackets and am very close to getting a novel of my own published.

The paper book is not at all threatened by the kindle. Not in the slightest.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317589)

I have a hard time seeing you reading ebooks at all, at least when you say this. But I must agree with you that there are some types of books that are wonderful to read in paper. Though most books are just cheap pulp from dead trees between an even cheaper looking cover, and these gain from the feel sturdiness of an daylight readable OLPC, with backlight for the nighttime. The cheap books are good to read as ebooks.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (2, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317663)

I, too, am a big fan of the physical book. I have lots of them. They're the thing that makes moving to a new apartment unpleasant, but they add so much to my life that they're worth it. And I especially love to browse a bookshelf, pick one up, and flip to a random page.

That said, e-books are very compelling to me for one reason: I could carry my entire library with me at all times. My 32GB hacked iPod mini really changed the way I listen to and enjoy music. Before, if I went somewhere, I had to think ahead of what CDs I might want to listen to. Now I put my entire music collection on one tiny device. Awesome! I can even take it with me when I go for a run.

I think e-books will end up being the same kind of enabler. We're just in the same place we were with MP3 players before Apple entered the game: functional but kind of unpleasant to use. If other technology serves as a guide, I have no doubt that we'll solve these problems. I'm looking at this early tech as a fun time to be a computer scientist and programmer.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 4 years ago | (#29319231)

You hit on a number of important reasons why books are advantageous compared to e-readers. There is also the issue of format. Real books come in a very wide variety of sizes, many times for a reason. Some things just aren't meant for a 5 or 6" screen. e-readers are also sterile when compared to a real book which offers tactile and other sensory input (smell, look, sounds).

However what e-readers do offer is convenience and an easy to read screen (unlike lcds). They have their place and I do own one. But I will still continue to buy new (real) books. I find I am using the e-reader more for older books which I would otherwise probably never spend money to buy.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (3, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317675)

>I don't have a kindle and doubt I would ever buy one.

This is like my grandpa saying he'll never use email or the horse and buggy guy sneering at the first car.

>The paper book is not at all threatened by the kindle. Not in the slightest.

When was the last time you wrote a letter? Or bought a CD? Or used an old fashioned card catalog? Digital books are damn convenient and once these readers start hitting 99 dollars its really over for the paper book. What a waste of resources they are: The growing and cutting of trees. The inks. The printing, etc. And all the room they take up!

Ironically, the only kindle owner I know is a 68 yo woman who has no love for technology. She got it as a gift and really loves it. If amazon is winning over technophobes like this then its really just a matter of time until they come around as they realize the convenience. Right near its early adopters only, but its getting there.

Paper books are not a waste of resources (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317939)

I just spent 20minues trying to find an environmental effect analysis of ereaders vs reading news papers delivered to your door step. I couldn't find it but I know it exists and it says they have more or less the same effect.

Some good points (4, Insightful)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318055)

I know I'm a bit of a Luddite, but I, too, don't consider buying ebooks. And I would buy more CDs if they would lower the price to something reasonable. Like $5. But I do buy CDs.

But you make good points. My (baby boom) generation won't be the consumers of this new media as much as the following generations.

One of my complaints is that technology turns out to be so disposable. Today's whizzy book reader is tomorrow's broken, toxic waste. I've got old computers, old CRT monitors, old disk drives, printers, scanners, motherboards, TVs, you name it. You say that books are a waste of resources that take up space. I say books are easily recyclable and that Kindles are yet another flash-in-the-pan piece of go-seh.

You can have my books when you pry them from my cold, dead hands. ;)

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (2, Interesting)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318093)

There are many examples of retired technology. I don't use floppies, don't write code in COBOL or VB and don't use CDs. I stopped watching TV a long time ago. I write software for a living and have for a 13 years.

However, I still write the first draft of my fiction on a 1917 Royal manual typewriter, listen to Mozart and Haydn and read hardback books such as the current one I'm reading about the fight to build the Hubble Space Telescope.

There are some things that have not been surpassed.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318515)

When was the last time you wrote a letter? Or bought a CD? Or used an old fashioned card catalog?

The difference is that the replacement for these items are not DRM-encumbered. And before you go saying that downloaded music (the replaced for a CD) is DRM-encumbered, let me say that I only purchase real MP3s.

The Kindle may have many benefits over a real book, but until Amazon removes all DRM, I consider it a technological step backwards, not forwards.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317691)

The paper book is not at all threatened by the kindle. Not in the slightest.

Books are becoming luxury items. A starving student might get a hard copy of her very favorite book, but she can get the same content over the internet without paying. If you can stomach reading on a computer screen then you don't really need books.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318051)

By the same logic, if you can stand drinking gutter water and eating out of trashcans, you never need to spend money on food. (In other words, that's a pretty big 'if'.)

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318511)

Well I can read from a computer screen. It's not that unusual

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29319453)

Well, standing in the parking lot eating a doughy half-warm microwave chicken sandwich for $2.75 and sitting down at your grandmother's to a table full of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy are both 'eating'. Reading on a screen is fine but it's not what launched a nearly 600-year-old technology that has still not been equaled--the bound book. The extreme pleasure of reading books is what kept reading high on the list of pasttimes and helped our world to benefit from many educated people, from women who sit in their apartments on Central Park West reading to people in India who squat under a hut in the rain, holding a tattered book. The book is a tremendously successful medium, still readable with READING 1.0, using native wet hardware (the eyes and brain).

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29318099)

So true... it is far cheaper to buy a kindle and then convert pirated pdf files to read on it then to buy just a single semester worth of textbooks. The kids who grow up with this technology will never use or care about the backwards old paper books: we are witnessing the last generations of non-digital text.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317887)

"As I look around my room I see all the books that I have finished or want to read. When I have finished a paper book, I see the pages dwindling as I reach the end. The book has weight and after I've read it I feel that heft and know that I've done something worth while."

Very well for those with the money and storage space. I don't care to pay for a book I'll read once and either have to store, sell, give away, or take to be recycled.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318131)

You're wrong on all accounts. I live in a tiny New York City apartment and have at least a thousand books.

There is nothing better than walking up to a friend at work and just springing a book on them. Just last week I went and handed a project manager I know a biography of Jack Kerouac. His weekend was made. You can't give away your kindle books, can you? Or see them after you close the file, except for a line in a directory, right?

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29318069)

As I type this comment I have in front of me the 1892 edition of Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader. At the foot of page 105 I can read the signature of a Jean Macalister dated March 15 1909. This signature personalizes the particular volume across time and I feel a bond with Jean even though our only link is our common the struggle with Sweet. Kindle can never provide this. However, another question arises: What Kindle version will be required to read the 2009 ebook edition in 2109?

I hold the same physical volume that Jean held a century ago. It requires no software or hardware upgrades to enable me to read it. No owner of this book has ever had to re-boot it because it was locked up. No one has ever had to recover it from backup. Its battery has never died. And because of its content, no one but another Anglo-Saxon scholar is likely to want to steal it. None of these statement is true for Krindle (or any other gadget).

I think people who use electronic readers are consumers of text (and there's nothing wrong with that). But for people for whom a book has a longer life, factors other than information content, narrowly defined, are more important in determining a book's value. A book is easy to use, it's portable, robust and you own it. The last point is worth noting, since your bookseller could not legally come into your house to retrieve a book that he claims was sold to you in error.

Summary: ebooks are useful but they certainly aren't books.

PS: AFAIK The Oxford University Press is not planning a digital version of Sweet's classic text.

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (1)

curmudgeon99 (1040054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318207)

Bravo!

Re:The Paper Book Remains King (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29318151)

I can sympathize completely; I have loads of books, many read, many not, some in the process of being read. At the same time, a Kindle is intriguing. For school, having the ability to search through a book would be beyond useful, and being able to carry around a load of books in a small device would be good for my back. The same goes for any time I want to carry more than a couple of books. There are many pluses to a Kindle.

But I purchase most of my books used. I just finished a book I got for $1 (cover price: $5), and I've just started two books I got for $1 and $7 (cover prices $10 and £11, respectively). Granted, my local used bookstores don't have all the books I want, but if Amazon can't compete on price with those that they do carry, I have no use for a Kindle.

Also, I'd be deathly afraid of losing/breaking my Kindle. While I don't like losing books, I can deal with losing something that cost me, say, $10 a lot better than I can deal with losing something that cost $300.

Plus the whole 1984 fiasco worries me.

Unlimited Budget.. yeah, and? (4, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317503)

"Unless every student has a Kindle and an unlimited budget, I don't see how that need is going to be met,' "

What part of "New England Prep School" did you not understand, Keith?

You know, I saw a lot of things coming* (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317529)

In the 70's a called the Coffee craze and said there would be coffee shops everywhere and people will wlak in and out.

I predicted computers i every houshold in 1980, I predicted digital libraries. At no point did I think having a coffee shiop would be needed to consider a library 'modern'.

* There is no money in predicting things unless you ahve Money, and I know many other people had the same ideas.

Next prediction: Baring a break through in Nuclear technology, we will have to go to a Solar option withing 25 years. The person that creates massive Industrial Solar Thermal plant that turns out many GW will have his/her family line set for ever.

Re:You know, I saw a lot of things coming* (2, Funny)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317745)

Next prediction: Baring a break through in Nuclear technology, we will have to go to a Solar option withing 25 years.

My prediction: Baring a break through in Solar technology, we will have to go to a Nuclear option withing 25 years.

Re:You know, I saw a lot of things coming* (2, Insightful)

tenco (773732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318231)

My commentary: solar is the smarter choice, because we have a virtually infinite supply of it as long as this rock in space is habitable for humans.

Re:You know, I saw a lot of things coming* (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318305)

many GW?!? One GW is more than enough!!! Wait... you mean you're not talking about Bush? You mean GW [wikipedia.org] is really the correct abbreviation for gigawatt? Uh... never mind!

Wouldn't send my kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29317547)

I guess they are a prep school and could do whatever they like...I just know I wouldn't send my kids to a school that got rid of all it's books in exchange for digital copies.

Not the REAL problems (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317549)

As computers are completely interchangeable, and if the library is in fact Digital it can easily be backed up somewhere. So long as the data is stored on a backup server you won't lose it on the library end. And Netbooks around here are becoming cheap as dirt, you can get one of those for under 300 dollars, or an old old lappy for under 200. Cheaper than a vehicle, which a fair deal of College students can afford.

They mention that books online aren't free, no, they aren't, but assuming your going digital you should be able to get digital copies (manual scans if you have to) of the books you already have and offer them for free, that way you aren't taking away any of the content they'd regularily have to. You're essentially making it easier for those who DO have money though.

The REAL issues you come across are sources and citations. A friend of mine is majoring in Ancient Mideivel history and Archeology (I know, good luck with that, right?) and the biggest issue when he has to write a paper is some crap about it having to come from a peer reviewed source or some scholarly document. BASICALLY, in order for them to use any quotes or facts in their papers (which they must have at least 10 quotes in every paper) they have to go through the trouble of FINDING a book that has a check mark by some organization or another (Unesco? Maybe? I don't know).

The internet has tons of information but little of it will be credible for humanities students.

Re:Not the REAL problems (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317735)

The REAL issues you come across are sources and citations. A friend of mine is majoring in Ancient Mideivel history and Archeology (I know, good luck with that, right?) and the biggest issue when he has to write a paper is some crap about it having to come from a peer reviewed source or some scholarly document. BASICALLY, in order for them to use any quotes or facts in their papers (which they must have at least 10 quotes in every paper) they have to go through the trouble of FINDING a book that has a check mark by some organization or another (Unesco? Maybe? I don't know).

What is he trying to source, a personal web site? It's academic writing: if you use external sources then they need to be peer reviewed by a "trusted" publisher.

Doesn't his school have access to EBSCOhost or something?

Re:Not the REAL problems (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317763)

The internet has tons of information but little of it will be credible for humanities students.

This just highlights a problem that's always existed: what cognitive authority do you trust? Before the Internet, you really only had the appearance of authority, because very few people could afford the expense of publishing a book. The cost of publishing on the Internet is negligible (by comparison, at least), and so more people can do it. But I'm not sure that the wackjob:scholar ratio has changed; e.g., Andrew Weil [wikipedia.org] 's alternative medicine empire has been spewing out unsubstantiated claims for years.

Scientists always check their facts. This is how our body of knowledge grows. There's no way around it.

Re:Not the REAL problems (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317805)

I mean I understand the need for such a system to be in place, I mean I personally have never had to encounter it because I took computer sciences, if something was false it was apparent and obvious. So when he complains he can't get the book he needs from the University Campus because someone else has it checked out... So I tell him to Google the topic, he tells me about how that isn't going to help him much. What he ends up having to do is either looking up a list of books and trying to find the ones that might have approved publishing, OR he has to look at a list of approved publishings and pick the closest to the topic he's talking about.

Thats one reason why Regular Book libraries stand out on top of digital libraries, because a University campus (at least the one in Calgary) doesn't keep books that aren't useful for its students. ANY book they check out can be used for citation. Digital libraries don't have that luxury since its inexpensive to get digital media about anything, so campuses like to load up on all the info they can store.

Re:Not the REAL problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29318415)

when he has to write a paper is some crap about it having to come from a peer reviewed source or some scholarly document... The internet has tons of information but little of it will be credible for humanities students.

Ah, those poor humanities students and their punctiliousness! Good thing that we science students don't have to reference peer-reviewed sources and can happily write papers citing The Onion, Geocities, and Weekly World News as acceptable sources.

It's a shame, really, that there's no way to access peer-reviewed journal publications online. Seriously, someone should get onto this! I think that Adobe's new "PDF" technology might be an ideal format for electronic distribution of articles. I'm gonna get on the phone to Elsevier now, this is going to blow their minds!

Defeats the purpose of libraries (3, Interesting)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317597)

This defeats the whole purpose of the library. You go there so you have free access to books. If you end up having to pay for them, how is that different from buying it anywhere else?

Sounds like they just wanted to get rid of the library and use the building space for something else. Oh yes, here we go:

Tracy and other administrators said the books took up too much space and that there was nowhere else on campus to stock them. So they decided to give their collection - aside from a few hundred children's books and valuable antiquarian works - to local schools and libraries.

Oh look, beancounters deciding to abandon the literary arts! What a surprise. Except not, since this is America after all. At least they donated them rather than burning them or throwing them out.

The sad part is they additionally justify this by saying the library wasn't used very much.

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.

How can they possibly tell how the library is utilized by checkout rates? The whole point of a school library is to go there, find a book you need to reference, make copies of the relevant pages, and go.

Re:Defeats the purpose of libraries (1)

emj (15659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317657)

they checked library records one day last spring only 48 books had been checked out, and 30 of those were children's books.

How can they possibly tell how the library is utilized by checkout rates? The whole point of a school library is to go there, find a book you need to reference, make copies of the relevant pages, and go.

But you can still do that, just just print out the pages you want.

Re:Defeats the purpose of libraries (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317971)

Oh, I suppose it wasn't totally clear from the story. So they will have free access to all those books they mentioned, and they'll be able to find what they're looking for and print it?

If so maybe it won't be such a bad deal.

Re:Defeats the purpose of libraries (2, Insightful)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317995)

Libraries are on their way out, we're already slipping into an information dark age. The modern library wouldn't have a chance in hell if it were invented today. I mean just imagine trying to convince publishers today to not only let people read their books for free, but to let them take them home, you'd be thrown out on your ass. We're living in a time where there's a wealth of information, but it's so locked up that you can't do anything with it unless you're wealthy.

Re:Defeats the purpose of libraries (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318625)

Libraries are on their way out, we're already slipping into an information dark age.

I don't know how things are going where you live, but in Norway the public libraries are going on as before. Not only that but many, soon enough all, are digitizing their archive of books, newspapers and other papers so that they can be accessed by computers in the library. Some of the computers also provide internet access for free.

Re:Defeats the purpose of libraries (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318359)

The whole point of a school library is to go there, find a book you need to reference, make copies of the relevant pages, and go. I thought the whole point of a school library was to go there, check out the back issues of Playboy on microfilm, and make prints of the best pic... er, articles. Sorry, my bad! (Yes, the UofA library did have back issues of Playboy on microfilm when I was in highschool. For reasons I could never fathom, they appeared to have concentrated on preserving the text and skipped over most of the pictures. Of course, microfilm is all black & white anyway, so it works much better on text.)

"dusty stacks" - as opposed to "broken tech"? (4, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317601)

"Dusty stacks" - hmm... you mean books which still work even though they are 5, 10, or more years old. How many people would be happy with their children learning using ten year old computers? Most tech is useless after 3 or 4 years, let alone ten years.

Works for a super rich private school, not going to happen in the public sector.

Re:"dusty stacks" - as opposed to "broken tech"? (2, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317873)

Most tech is useless after 3 or 4 years, let alone ten years.

consumer-level tech is essentially value-less after 10 years... but it's not useless any more than a chalkboard is.

Can anyone think of the major advantages? (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317717)

Will it cost a lot more to run, since they will be drawing extra power, compared to maintaining books (re-binding, protecting covers, etc)? Will they allow the loaning of digital books, and will the amount of copies be artificially limited? Will this cost less than buying books? Will they be sponsored by any groups that will have an exclusive deal on what encyclopedias, atlases, and other reference books are available, or will they be unbiased and allow access to all "brands"? They say they will only have 18 book reading devices, and everyone else will be expected to use laptops. Will they require special software, or will there be a web interface? They will have 3 large TVs to display information from the internet on. Will this really be useful, or disruptive?

I guess I have a lot of questions, but hopefully this will be a good test case and give us all insight on the possible advantages.

Major advantage: selling to the parents (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317871)

The major advantage is, when those rich parents are touring the school, the school's administrators can say "WE have a paperless library and WE will expose your child to the latest technology and editions of material preparing them for their future academic careers at whatever Ivy League College they choose to go to." (Notice that it's not whatever school they can get into like the rest of us poor slobs)

It's a marketing gimmick to get well to do parents to send their pampered gold plated snowflakes and spend the money and maybe give some money for the endowment to said school. With the hopes that their soon to be platinum snowflake will graduate and one day become the elite that rules over us peons and makes millions of dollars with their hedge funds, whilst feeling something like pity (feels like a little gas) when they see folks losing their homes in economic downturns because those folks actually bought into the myth propagated by the said elite that they could actually have a piece of the American pie by working hard, climbing that corporate ladder, and investing in their 401K.

Geeze! I'm getting really cynical and bitter. Oh well.

Doesn't anybody else read in the can? (2, Funny)

northernboy (661897) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317751)

I know I could take a Kindle into the 'executive reading room', but just seems so wrong.

Re:Doesn't anybody else read in the can? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318387)

Well, you can tear pages out of a book when you run out of paper, but a kindle just doesn't seem to work nearly as well (as kindling for building a fire... now get your mind out of the gutter!)

Open book exams... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317771)

In some of my classes in the past were "open book." So this made me wonder, if I was at this school and my eBook reader had an issue (crashed/battery dead/accidentally deleted the book) what would happen? With a physical textbook, I'm not sure there's any equivalent, since you're really only allowed the exam, the book and a pencil/eraser.

If eBook readers were allowed, what would prevent a student from carrying a library worth of books with them?

To me this smells like someone got the "Hey! Computers will solve everything!" This is sad since most schools in Mass can't afford paper/pencils/textbooks. Atleast they're not doing it with tax dollars.

I find it funny though that they are replacing 20,000 books with $10,000 worth (or 18) eBook readers from Amazon/Sony. I guess they'll force every kid to purchase their own reader. Welcome to the private school of 2009 which will cost $35k/yr. It's almost cheaper to get your MD from Harvard.

Re:Open book exams... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317927)

If eBook readers were allowed, what would prevent a student from carrying a library worth of books with them?

Why would any sensible society want to stop students from carrying a library full of books with them, even into tests? If your test is on memorizing facts that can be easily looked up in a library of books, then the test is crap. There are a few, very specific cases where specialists actually need data memorized for use cases where they won't have access (EMT for example) but for all the rest we should not consider rote memorization to be education. Tests should be on the ability to apply knowledge usefully in a field of study.

I'm all for modernizing the education system. We've moved past the technological phase where outdated memorization is particularly useful. Forget multiple choice tests on atomic weights, let's see students actually put together reagents in a computer simulation such that they achieve the desired result. Let's see students infer physical properties based upon limited chemical data. Lets see kids apply the scientific method correctly via virtual experiments to determine what a compound is.

By all means make the entire library available to every student in class, during tests, and throughout the rest of their lives. Then we can get on to the important business of learning how to apply knowledge and logical methods to actually do something more than memorize lists for the short period of time between a segment of class and the examination.

Re:Open book exams... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318201)

Let's see you close the divide between the "Haves" and the "Have nots." Not every family can afford to send their kid to a $45k/yr school http://www.cushing.org/admission/tuition.shtml [cushing.org] . Let's see what would we rather do... spend $500k to eliminate the library, or pay for teachers, licensing fees for books, pencils, specialists (art/music/gym teachers)....

Let me know when you get back to reality from your "let's see students actually put together reagents in a computer simulation such that they achieve the desired result."

Either that or please write to your local Legislator that you're willing to pay 60% taxes.

Re:Open book exams... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318861)

Let's see you close the divide between the "Haves" and the "Have nots."

We've certainly been working on it and project pioneered at wealthy private schools often are later implemented at public schools. But this isn't a question of money, since it is a private school, simply of effectiveness. Maine, for example, now gives every student a laptop. Since they have already committed to that expense, e-textbooks, especially free ones as well as e-curriculum such as I describe become an increasingly viable and cost effective solution. Pay some people to write the software once and such work can be shared among schools everywhere, very much undermining the argument that this is some sort of financial extravagance. Given the support of higher education in this sort of enterprise, it can be much more beneficial than maintaining the status quo, which is, frankly, hiring under qualified people to teach large groups of students how to pass tests which don't do much towards actually teaching them useful skills and abilities in favor of easily testable metrics that perpetuate said status quo.

Let me know when you get back to reality from your "let's see students actually put together reagents in a computer simulation such that they achieve the desired result."

Yes, because providing very reasonable and doable simulations via computers is so out there we should just stick with our current, misguided programs. Our educational system is much as a method of sorting students as it is a valid attempt at educating. People who resist change given the current system, baffle me. I honestly don't understand the perspective that better funding for a broken model is somehow going to create real benefit.

Either that or please write to your local Legislator that you're willing to pay 60% taxes.

Hyperbole. I am willing to pay more in taxes for a better educational system, but computerizing libraries and moving to books whose copyrights are publicly owned by the schools as well as implementing more interactive programs can be quite cost effective in this day and age. A few smart implementors can disseminate good implementations widely at little or no additional cost, which is pilot programs into this is so important.

hey white faggots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29317791)

suck my big negro cock. little while fags.

You can not stop progress (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317819)

Agriculture, organized government, dynamite and computers all had negative side effects on society, but few would go back to hunting and gathering. Similarly electronic books bring problems of overused DRM, device durability and availability of titles and loss of library/bookstore culture. Yet most people are used to many conveniences of Internet and will not take advantage of availability/durability/fair use of paper books if they are not able to find them through a search engine, immediately get a copy over the air from wherever they are, carry hundreds of books in a handback/backpack/pocket or search content for specific topics. I know I read maybe 4 books per year before getting a Kindle and now get through at least one per month and end up discovering new authors rather than just the bestsellers. I am also saving 4 books worth of trees.

We will just have to control use of DRM in our society just as we regulate environmental impact of agriculture or indiscriminate use of dynamite. And for paper book lovers - hey, you can still take a steam train tour nowadays. It's just not our most common mode of transportation.

As a future librarian... (1)

Rival (14861) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317893)

I am presently going back to school to get a Master's in Libary and Information Sciences. After having worked 15 years in various IT fields, I am looking forward to getting into a career with books.

Innovation is great, and appreciated in libraries when it serves a useful purpose. But as has been mentioned by others, technology changes quickly, and becomes obsolete just as quickly.

This prep-school library is trying something new, and I'm all for them trying. But getting rid of tried-and-proven technology in favor for the next buzz-word seems very foolish. Why not store the stacks in locking, rolling-shelf systems? [momoy.com] This would save a great deal of space and still provide a reliable backup.

What they've done is like discarding bicycles in favor of Segways. If they want to show they have money and like new technology, fine. But when their new toys break, unexpected problems arise, or their needs change, I will be reading my books and chuckling at them.

Serendipity (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317917)

I'm not sure if this is a great idea or not, but I have to say that if they do it right, a digital library would make it easier to find things through serendipity. Consider digital music.

Before the Internet, the way to find new music were limited: magazines, word-of-mouth, or hearing it on the radio. If you went to cool record stores with cool people working there, they could tell you about cool new music; or maybe you could listen to a radio show with a DJ who would find new stuff and share it with you. Well, those ways still exist, but now we have the Internet, and I'm finding way more new music than I ever used to. Rhapsody and Pandora have found me a ton of new stuff that I would never have found back before the Internet. And I can flip through the tunes quickly; if I just hate a song, I stop listening to it and find another one, which drives up my hit rate on stuff I actually like (compared with radio, where the DJ is going to play the whole song whether you like it or not).

Even Amazon.com can be a way to find new stuff. "Customers who bought this also bought..."

So, imagine a crazy Web 2.0 sort of card catalog, with "People who checked out this book also checked out..." Imagine the card catalog having user reviews.

One major way I have found new books is the "our staff recommends" shelf. Well, in a paper books library, they can only put four or five books there, and the books change regularly; with some sort of web recommendation page, you could click on a link and go back to see other books previously recommended by the same librarian.

And every library can have a complete collection of every public-domain book. (Now if we could only modify the copyright system so that stuff starts going into the public domain again...)

The biggest down-side I would see in this would be DRM. Paper books just don't have a DRM issue. If you want to make a photocopy of a page under fair-use, you can just do it. Of course DRM doesn't actually work, other than to let people sue you under the DMCA; if we can't get the DMCA repealed, it would be cool if we could get an amendment to it that specifically allowed defeating a DRM system in order to have fair-use of the material.

Also, don't forget that you don't need a Kindle to read an ebook. Any portable device with a decent screen could be used. I read most of my books on my ancient battered Palm PDA. (For reading in bright summer sun, or for long plane flights, I have an even-more-ancient Handspring Visor; still works great for reading books.) It probably won't be long before everyone is walking around with a phone that can be used as a book reader.

You may object that you love the feel of paper in your hands, the sound as you turn the pages, the smell of the library dust, or some other part of the paper experience that ebooks just won't give you. That's fine, and I'm not proposing to destroy all the paper books. But I'll point out to you that with digital books, the library would never need to get rid of old books to make room for new books, and even a small library could have as many books as a big library. For me, books are about the content, not about the paper.

To the extent that ebooks keep people from accessing the content of the books, I'm against them. So I'm against Draconian DRM, and I'm against funky proprietary formats that require you to buy a $500 reader. But overall I like ebooks.

steveha

Library of Alexandria (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318023)

When the library of Alexandria was burned down (or the scrolls used as fuel), most of the ancient world was lost. Is this how we will lose our current world? Through unaccessible electronic bits?

Good Luck with Those Millions of Books (1)

ancarett (221103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318189)

How many of the books that they're pulping are actually available out there with no additional cost? Not that many. This school will either be putting out a lot of money to license content in the digital format(s) that it previously owned in print or their students will learn the joy of researching from "snippet" view in Google Books.

Project Gutenberg and various free sources are good enough for accessing some pre-copyright books but, honestly, even as a researcher who specializes in 16th century books, it's hardly a drop in the bucket. Most of those 16th century books aren't freely available online but scanned as part of a wonderful but pricey subscription service (Early English Books Online). Not to mention that a lot of the freely-available Victorian editions are error-ridden or almost illegible.

And what of scholarship since the 1920s? Sure, there's the California Open Source Textbook Project [opensourcetext.org] and other similar endeavours. Haven't really gotten them all robustly off the ground and it doesn't help students who're looking for current scholarship on topic A when all we have are textbook-level summaries of B and C.

I know a lot of students like the idea of reading books online but very few of them are truly happy with what's out there so far. If there's no money for OCR conversion, you have a lot of scans in PDF or image format, sometimes dauntingly grainy. Even Google Books at its best has a hard time identifying the index properly in open-access books so have fun trying to look up your subjects in these multi-volume early twentieth century reference works which is what you have on hand. Or just give up and say that Wikipedia will be the default resource for everyone's research (but don't be surprised when your students complain that not all of their university professors agree with this approach!).

What's wrong with having a bit more of a learning commons feeling and some more carrels while still keeping most of the books? Do a shelf-read (your librarians do know what that practice is, I hope!), and cull out those "Personal Computing and You" volumes from 1998 (unless you're running a historical archive of the computing community). But, for the love of Pete!, don't get rid of all the books. The students won't be thanking you as they realize you still expect them to read and research but you're hamstringing them at the same time.

Too many unanswered questions (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318245)

Okay, I read the entire article (strike one, I know...). There's very little info there, unfortunately. I came away with the impression that this "step into the future" was conceived, driven, and promoted by someone who had the power to do so but probably lacked the necessary technical knowledge to do it successfully - or even to ask the right questions.

Here are couple unanswered questions that immediately spring to mind - feel free to add your own:

- Are the students expected for the most part to only use the books while the students are physically in the library? Or are 18 Kindles really enough to meet demand? Cuz, you know, if you have 1000 paper books you can conceivably have 1000 people checking them out.

- An advantage to a correctly designed digital conversion would be that it'd allow many people to simultaneously access the same book. Is the Kindle-based system able to do that? Heck, does the Kindle-based system even understand the concept of "checking out" a book? If each book is linked to an individual Kindle, that would really suck.

- Heck, if books ARE linked to specific Kindles... I can think of so many practical issues. (okay, that's not phrased as a question)

I'd love to be wrong; but in my experience, in most cases the people with the power to make changes don't have the knowledge to do it correctly - and those who consider themselves the most "visionary" are the worst of all, because they're either too worried about having to share credit or else too arrogant to realize they don't have all-encompassing knowledge. The smart ones know when to ask for help and who to bring in; but they're in the minority, at least in my personal universe.

Moving from tablets. (1)

lexsco (594799) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318315)

thousands of years ago there was the issue of moving from trusty clay tablets to this new fangled technology called papyrus.

They got scammed (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318345)

Although I prefer paper books as well, I don't have a big problem with electronic books, except .. where do you get them? Are they really available? As far as I know, most books simply aren't available in electronic form. Sure, Project Gutenberg has some, but that's obviously a highly limited selection.

Unless... wait a minute. (RTAing.) They're spending a shitload of money on Amazon Kindles. (Ooh, and everyone's fuck-you-in-the-ass company is mentioned too: Sony.)

Wait .. you mean DRMed books, from Amazon?! Holy fucking shit, if this is what they really mean, then once again, elements of RMS' preposterously ridiculously paranoid absurdly unrealistic "The Right to Read" story has turned out to be True, decades before its setting.

Hah, and $42000 for 3 TVs. Major major ripoff. This school is writing blank checks out to whatever snake oil salesmen show up. It is extremely obvious that not only does someone need to be fired, but a fraud investigation wouldn't be a bad idea. And that has nothing to do with e-books vs paper. This ain't about technology, it's about fucking someone over. If this were happening in my town, I would get a reporter on the scene.

Serendipity is not allowed in modern education (2, Interesting)

richardkelleher (1184251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318569)

It is simply not cost effective and may even be contrary to the goal of education in the US. Our educators are told they are in the business of making cogs (for business of course), not thinkers!

Most of Mr Fiels' issues, aren't (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318699)

Though I do agree with him somewhat about browsing, I'm discovering that serendipity is equally possible on the internet. The only real issue I see here are the copyright issues when students 'borrow' a book from the library.

1) Cost (apart from a reader) isn't an issue for the students because it's a library, not a book store

2) I spilled coffee on my e-book reader this morning and it still works. Even if it didn't, the contents of the SD card would likely be safe and the copy on my computer definitely would be.

3.) My ebook reader is the only battery powered device I own that has never run out of power when I was using it (in nearly two years of daily use). That's not to say it can't or won't, but it's unlikely. (I typically plug it into a PC once a week to download content)

I like paper books too but damn, my e-book reader is convenient... and content is much cheaper (mostly free even) if you know where to look for it.

Abombination! (2, Interesting)

Hitman_Frost (798840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318937)

And no - I am not over-reacting. I recently visited my home town and thought I'd check out the old city library which I heard had been given a big makeover.

It was like visiting a shopping mall. Modern and clean, but no character whatsoever. Most of one entire floor out of the five was nothing but PCs inhabited by large amounts of students who already have more than enough access to the net as it is. There was a coffee shop, a crÃche, another entire floor dedicated to meeting and conference rooms. One floor was labelled as storage - staff only. I know where all the books went now!

Out of five floors, only one and a half of them actually had books in them. Unbelievable for a major city library.

I had a larger science fiction collection at home than a library supporting hundreds of thousands of people.

mo3 up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29319075)

geeting to6ether to

The curious thing... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29319457)

Is how old-school the guy pushing the change is. The world is full of techno-utopians pushing new media(Heck, I was pretty sure that one of Gates' dot-com e-academies had already built a bookless "media center" probably with Gates' precious tablet PCs). However, Cushing is an old New England prep school, not what you'd think of as a hotbed of new media-ism. And Dr. Tracy, the headmaster, isn't either:

"Dr. Tracy joined Cushing on July 1, 2006, after serving as Headmaster of Boston University Academy, an independent college preparatory school in Boston, for six years. Dr. Tracy has been a leader in the independent school community and is the editor of The NAIS Guide to Principles of Good Practice. He has written extensively on educational issues. Prior to his position at BU Academy, Dr. Tracy served on the faculty of the Hotchkiss School, where he was also a coach and dorm parent, and he was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of History at Yale University. Dr. Tracy received his Bachelor's degree in History and Religion from the University of Massachusetts/ Boston in 1984. He was awarded his Master's and his Doctorate in American History from Stanford University in 1993 and received his MBA in Nonprofit Management from Boston University in 2003. "

Educational background, BA to PhD, is pure history/humanities, with the exception of the MBA. Professional background is pure education/educational administration. This isn't some dude with green hair and an earring who made 250 million on the dubiousidea.com IPO.

I'm not at all surprised to see somebody doing this. I'd damn surprised to see this school and this headmaster doing this.
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