Public schools begin to transition to bookless libraries

January 21, 2013

A public library in San Antonio, Texas announced recently it would be opening the country’s first public bookless library, instead opting for renting out e-readers and installing rows of computers for research. And now, more public school libraries fighting for space – as well as relevance – may not be far behind.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the library at Archbishop Wood High School will be taking its current volume of books from47,000 down to 1,000 next year. With the new space, the school plans to add collaborative rooms and projection equipment.

As the news source explained, “The reading and research habits of millennial students often begin and end online, rather than in the library stacks. The school, therefore, has to adapt, [the librarian] said, and to focus on teaching students how to access reliable information on the web.”

The BiblioTech, San Antonio’s future bookless library, was created when the University of Texas at San Antonio opened a bookless academic library. Since students are growing up more comfortable with online research as opposed to books, more libraries may downsize their book and paper research collections as well. Especially for colleges and universities with large volumes of documents, bulk scanning services can help provide libraries with an effective way to provide research material, whether or not they were written in the digital age.

Like the BiblioTech, the Brooklyn Public library has also begun talks of downsizing their book collections to make way for podcast and digital photography classes. As more libraries transition to digital documents, a bookless libraries may not be such a crazy idea.

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