July 22, 2009

Will Libraries Be Around in Ten Years? Twenty? Fifty?

I read a really interesting blog post on replacing library books and text books with digital textbooks. The article made some really good points, and I’d like to re-spin them here, of course giving full credit to Thomas Curtis, the original author. Read the full article here.

Here is a summary of what I took away from his article:

Why pay up to $100 for an average textbook that could be missing really important events only a short time after printing?
Electronic versions are cheaper and can be updated with current events such as the Iraq war, the country’s first Afican American president, and the decoding of the human genome to name a few that have occured in the last six years.

When studying a textbook, how often do you read the entire thing versus manually searching for specific pieces of information?
Every wish you could use CTRL+F (the keyboard shorcut for 'Find') on a textbook and search for information? :)

What hours is your library open, and how many copies can they have of each book?
Digital textbooks could be available 24/7 and available to an unlimited number of people (possibly limited by licensing)


I really liked the ideas in the article and hope more people can think outside the box on the future of textbooks for our students. Similar questions can be asked to paper mills and industrial facilities:


  • How many copies of user manuals or safety books does your site have sitting in a room somewhere?

  • If someone needs access to it, can they get it?

  • Can they quickly find the specific information they need?

  • What if someone else has it checked out or sitting on their desk?

  • How up to date is it?



Has your site done anything outside-of-the-box to help make information accessible? Let us know!

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