Today Twitter has been abuzz with discussion of the Cushing School (MA) library going bookless. As I read the Twitter posts I find myself feeling a bit disconcerted by their lamenting nature. While yes, I understand that a school library moving to a no books model is a drastic thing to do. And, while I understand that a library needs to almost always provide a combination of print and digital resources, I wonder how can we respond on Twitter, blogs, editorials in newspapers, etc. to this topic thoughtfully without sounding like a group of whining traditionalists? (There, I said it.)
What I would love to read, and Twitter really isn’t the platform for this, but this blog is, is more of an analysis of the pros and cons of this story. Questions I have after reading the Boston Globe article include:
- What had been going on with the school library before this? Was there a history of administration undermining the library? Why this move now?
- How are librarians in the school involved in the change? A librarian quoted in the article talks about her sadness about the change, but did she get a chance to help make some of the decisions? Why? Why not?
- What about the students? The article makes it sound like they don’t read books at all, but what is the real story? Where are they getting their books, what are they reading in any format?
There are other questions I have but those are a few at the top of my head. What I would love to hear from blog readers are your questions and answers related to this story. What do you think might be a better approach for a school to take to support students and teachers through the library while integrating and acknowledging new technologies? What are the positives of going bookless? (Are there any?) How are you working proactively to guarantee that you have a say about what happens in your library? How might you respond in a way that will be heard and understood to this kind of action in your community? How can librarians respond to these situations in a positive and informative way?
It seems to me if we lament we don’t get anywhere. But, if we ask provocative questions and if we support new ideas and help to frame those ideas, then perhaps we have better opportunities to have an impact on what happens in our libraries and communities.
Go ahead, take a risk, and tell me and other readers what you think.