Monday, July 11, 2011

"Bookless" Libraries - What, Me Worry?

As forwarded to me by my President - Courtesy of Time Magazine:

Is A Bookless Library Still a Library?

It's an interesting piece. I have seen similar ones recently as other "bookless" libraries have appeared on other college campuses. The days when we were defined as book warehouses are gone, for the most part. And that is a good thing. A VERY good thing.

The counterpoint is that, in each instance where a "bookless" library has been created, it has happened on a campus where one or more "traditional" libraries still exist. STM fields – science, technology, medicine – rely far more heavily on journal articles in their fields for the most up-to-date research than do the social sciences and humanities. So the science libraries lend themselves far more readily to this than those that have to support a broader mixture of subjects, especially the arts and humanities. Not to say that journals are not important there as well, but they are not the end-all and be-all that there are in the STM fields.

The local scene:
We currently spend about $2.25 on electronic resources for every dollar we spend on print. Some feel that is too much electronic and not enough print - some see it the other way around. I suspect that the ratio will continue to get higher - but I am equally sure that we will spend money on print for the next while. I am not sure how long that will be - at this point, anyone who tells you that they know when that will happen probably has some lovely "wetland acreage" that they would be more than happy to let you buy. There are a lot of things to work out regarding electronic books in the academic setting before the print collection will go the way of the dodo.

Song of the Day: Smells Like Content by The Books