Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Paper or Digital?

Hello everyone,

I heard a discussion recently about publishing houses losing money with the rise of online competitors. Some readers have switched from traditional paper books to e-books, such as Kindle.

We're all pretty used to seeing people come in to the library to use the public computers for research, entertainment, whatever. Now imagine that where the circulation desk is, there is a coffee bar. Imagine the familiar stacks, the rows upon rows of so many books - gone. Now imagine that in their place are clusters of computer work stations and a limited number of e-books for patrons to borrow with downloaded text.

It might sound a bit far fetched but that's just what one private school library did. The story aired on NPR's "All Things Considered" on November 9.




  1. I believe this might work for digital natives of the 21st Century, but I wonder if some of us that have not been exposed to the digital media since birth have the adaptability within our brains to ever be switched over completely. Maybe it could happen! But to me there is something about have a nice new book to read.

  2. Anita's opinion:
    I think this sort of 'whole-hog' conversion would be more risky for a public library. But, the future of our library does lie in the digital sphere.
    More than a few bibliophiles we know will cringe at that thought. But, in the public library of the (not so distant) future, there is more focus on electronic media & community program spaces than on books - especially nonfiction.
    And, I get the point the story makes about availability of resources. Books - especially nonfiction/reference - are incredibly costly. The initial investment is - with reference materials - steep, but then there is the replacement. Much of our nonfiction & reference material has a pretty short shelf life.
    The virtual public library is a long way off, I think. But, changes - big changes - are on the way.
    I, myself, love change as much as I love the feel & smell of a book in hand. As a library worker dealing with technology...not lookin' forward to that!