An anonymous reader writes to mention that Cushing Academy has decided to leap into the future by getting rid of all the books in their library
and going completely digital. Instead of dusty stacks, the library is spending close to half a million dollars to install all the hallmarks of a digital learning center. Flat screen TVs, "laptop friendly carrels," and a coffee shop are just the first step in building an area that allows students access to millions of books as opposed to several thousand. Of course, not everyone is completely sold on this move: "[Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of the American Library Association] said the move raises at least two concerns: Many of the books on electronic readers and the Internet aren't free and it may become more difficult for students to happen on books with the serendipity made possible by physical browsing. There's also the question of the durability of electronic readers. 'Unless every student has a Kindle and an unlimited budget, I don't see how that need is going to be met,' Fiels said. 'Books are not a waste of space, and they won't be until a digital book can tolerate as much sand, survive a coffee spill, and have unlimited power. When that happens, there will be next to no difference between that and a book.'"