High school library gets rid of its books

OutThere

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Dec 19, 2002
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Getting to be kind of old news, but worth thinking about: Cushing Academy in Mass has given away its 20,000 books in favor of...

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.
I originally heard about this both because I went to a prep school similar to (though much better than ;)) Cushing and because my parents work in publishing and have been talking a lot about it lately. Didn't get a whole lot of press, though I think it's a pretty notable event for anyone concerned with education or academics.

Thinking about it more I had the idea that it might have been a veiled cost-cutting maneuver, showcasing a 'large' $500,000 investment while eliminating just as much annually in no-longer-necessary library staff position salaries.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/09/04/a_library_without_the_books/
 

SkyBell

macrumors 604
Sep 7, 2006
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Texas, unfortunately.
20,000 books replaced by 18 eBooks. Yeah, that sounds like there'll be enough for everyone. :rolleyes: Its a library, not an internet cafe. (though that sounds like what they're trying to turn it into. What a load.)
 

TuffLuffJimmy

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Apr 6, 2007
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Portland, OR
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Why would they put coffee machines in there? They shouldn't do this, they should instead give every student an eBook reader.
 

synth3tik

macrumors 68040
Oct 11, 2006
3,955
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Minneapolis, MN
cutting out arts and physical education wasn't making us stupid enough I guess.

Thinking back to grade school, none of this would have helped me at all. 4 classes have a book report, but only 18 kids can get the book report done, at least they have a coffee machine to keep them up while waiting for a chance to get learned. Brilliant!. :rolleyes:
 

ravenvii

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Mar 17, 2004
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Melenkurion Skyweir
Well that might possibly turn out kind of a cool, hopefully they will keep a stock of electronic books accessible by all students, instead of hoping that Wikipedia will do the job.

Then I came upon this,

Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.
and I was like:

 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
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Toronto, Ontario
When i was in school we got points for passing book tests and then spent them at the "book reading store" at the end of the year, it was a pretty big deal, then again our rural piece of crap school that was proposed to be closed down did score as the #1 district in kansas.
 

bobber205

macrumors 68020
Nov 15, 2005
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Oregon
When i was in school we got points for passing book tests and then spent them at the "book reading store" at the end of the year, it was a pretty big deal, then again our rural piece of crap school that was proposed to be closed down did score as the #1 district in kansas.
Where in Kansas did you go to school? I think I went to school in that district. :D
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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UK
Sounds like a good idea, mostly the books just sit on the shelves, and you need so many books for a library to be useful that this is a better approach IMO.

Especially if they buy anything through the store that people want with the money they save on not having real books.
 

OutThere

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Original poster
Dec 19, 2002
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Sounds like a good idea, mostly the books just sit on the shelves, and you need so many books for a library to be useful that this is a better approach IMO.

Especially if they buy anything through the store that people want with the money they save on not having real books.
But giving away all of the material they already had, much of which may not be available in digital form? Could digital libraries of the future not grow and develop alongside the stacks?

I'd contemplate suicide never mind fail if I had to write my 100 page undergrad thesis with a Kindle instead of my college's nearly 1m hard-copy volumes.
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
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I'd contemplate suicide never mind fail if I had to write my 100 page undergrad thesis with a Kindle instead of my college's nearly 1m hard-copy volumes.
The thing is you need that kind of size for it to be really worthwhile. I did all my undergraduate papers using the Oxford University library (which has 11 million books) and it was pretty bad even using the University of Warwick library (which has 1.2 million books).
 

Ttownbeast

macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
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They should just give the students a crash course in ditch digging and send them on their way.
If you ask some educators there is a program for that--it's called Job Corps. The education systems last resort for unruly adolescents, when I worked as a student teacher I met many teachers who gave up trying and figured that the Department of Labor and its vocational training program were the best dumping grounds for the kids they didn't want to deal with.
 

colourfastt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2009
885
524
If you ask some educators there is a program for that--it's called Job Corps. The education systems last resort for unruly adolescents, when I worked as a student teacher I met many teachers who gave up trying and figured that the Department of Labor and its vocational training program were the best dumping grounds for the kids they didn't want to deal with.
Are there no workhouses?