A spacious 11,000 square-foot minimalist bookless library has been opened by Florida Polytechnic University. Instead of physical books 135,000 ebooks are available on the university’s four core subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
You may be able to find things more easily and discover things by accident, as Carrie Russell from the American Library Association says, but copyright is going to constrain usefulness. If you can’t keep highlights, print them off or photocopy them then students will be forced to copy type or produce handwritten notes. That’s not an ideal situation.
I wonder how many students will walk through the library’s doors when they can access the catalogue online. Will the number of times the ebooks are checked out be comparable to a dead tree library? Will the building’s usefulness as an empty, shelfless space justify the cost of its construction?
What do you think?
Is a library still a library without physical books?