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School tosses out all books in library, goes high tech


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School tosses out all books in library, goes high tech

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  #1 (permalink)
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I found this article interesting. I have mixed feelings on this. I've never been a big reader of print media (newspapers, books) but I think this is a radical approach. I am sure all those books are costly and going with the e-reader can yield savings while also improving efficiency, I am left wondering why a hybrid program was not first tried...



Source: Engadget, Boston Globe


Engadget
We love looking to the future here at Engadget. And while real, paper books hold a special place in our heart, we're fairly certain no one will accuse us of being Luddites for scoffing at a recent development at a Boston prep school. James Tracy, the headmaster of Cushing Academy, says that he sees books as an "outdated technology," and to that end, he's taken the drastic and expensive step of ridding the school's library of every single one of its books. Replacing the books will be a high tech "learning center," housing three flat screen televisions, laptops, 18 e-readers, and a coffee bar. The project -- which is costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 -- is one of the first of its kind. So, excuse us for our cynicism, but unless there are only 18 students at Cushing Academy, we're pretty sure the e-reader supply is going to come up short.


Boston Globe
“When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. “This isn’t ‘Fahrenheit 451’ [the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel in which books are banned]. We’re not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology.’’

Instead of a library, the academy is spending nearly $500,000 to create a “learning center,’’ though that is only one of the names in contention for the new space. In place of the stacks, they are spending $42,000 on three large flat-screen TVs that will project data from the Internet and $20,000 on special laptop-friendly study carrels. Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.

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.


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  #2 (permalink)
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Wow, personally I think a paper book is still more convenient for reading at the current stage since the ebook readers out there including the new Amazon Kindle (11-in version) is still not good enough to replace a real book.

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great a coffee bar! this seems more about being sheik than anything else. Can't wait til some kid opens an email claiming that he has inherited 10 million dollars from a Nigerian Prince and their "library" sh1ts the bed.

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I am all for new technology. I think that is great and definitely lean towards technology. But I just found it a radical approach.

I think the e-readers of today aren't any good. Give it another 2-3 years and the full color screens will be readily available and cheap. Then I'll buy one.

I think this school should have phased in this program, maybe taking a few sections of their library and making just those books available on e-readers. Buying fewer e-readers in the process, which themselves will be outdated in no time flat.

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"Hey that's a cool e-book I just read!... I'd like to highlight and make some margin notes... hey, print out the pdf so I can re-read to it in the WC (aka water closet) library!

What a waste! agree with the hybrid trial before the total commitment "oops" decision!

kz

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September 5, 2009


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