September 5 2009

Boston Area School Dumps Library Books For Ebooks

bostonlibraryIt seems that the digital age is coming to schools at long last, but are they really going about it in the right way?

Cushing Academy, a private, co-ed day and boarding school for grades nine to twelveabout 90 miles west of Boston, has decided that it is time to embrace the digital age and is getting rid of all 20,000 of its library books.  The books are being replaced with 18 ebook readers from Amazon and Sony according to The Boston Globe.

James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and the spearhead behind the movement had this to say on the move:

Instead of a traditional library with 20,000 books, we’re building a virtual library where students will have access to millions of books.  We see this as a model for the 21st-century school.

No, Mr. Tracy, you are building a virtual library with 18 books, not millions.

While I see what his thought process is, and I am sure the school enrollment is much lower than your traditional public school, 18 readers for an entire school verges on the idiotic.  Will you get the teachers to coordinate their lesson plans so no more than 18 books are ever needed through out the school?  What about the student that wants to work ahead?  Leisure reading?  Apparently none of those things will factor in to these mere 18 ebook readers that Cushing is purchasing.

So, what do you do with a room that used to house 20,000 books and now will only hold 18 ebook readers?  Good question, but get ready for the silly answer:

Here’s an idea, how about you dump the coffee shop (that blew my mind) and buy 90 more ebook readers?  I know, I’m crazy with the ideas.

While I feel that the digital age is coming for sure, especially in the field of text books, replacing the entire library just seems a bit extreme to me.  Heck, why not keep the books and phase in the readers instead of dumping everything in one shot?

Who knows, this is a private school, and if they need a $12,000 cappuccino machine, why not?

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