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Poll: What do you think of the bookless library?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 26, 2013 9:16 AM PST
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That scraping sound you hear..
by hrlaser / November 26, 2013 10:21 AM PST

Are the bones of Johannes Gutenberg spinning in his grave..

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Maybe not, ...
by Bob_Meyer / November 26, 2013 1:59 PM PST

Equally revolutionary inventions: language, writing, the printing press, movable type and digital production, storage and transmission. Gutenberg would be amazed.

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Johannes would be copying it.
by Hartiq / December 1, 2013 7:56 AM PST
In reply to: Maybe not, ...

I never met the man but from what I know of him he was a nice guy who wanted everyone to read. He would probably have approved of Project Gutenberg [ ] far more than he would a typical 20th Century book shop and he would have enjoyed an electronic Library.
However, paper does have its uses.
There are tons of tapes of Apollo era data that can't be read by today's machines nor interpreted by today's softwares. There is a major rescue effort ongoing to save these things. Apollo was in my lifetime. Now imagine this effect of obsolescence over six millennia of technological change. It would make the task of deciphering Chaldean seem trivial.
The advantage paper has is that it is the same technology as it was in the time of the Egyptian Pharoes. The *language* may change a little but at least it will always be *readable* by the machinery available - the human eye. This is not the case with electronics and won't be until the technology matures and reaches a plateau.
At present, we are with our technologies roughly equivalent to the Gutenbergs, everyone has a different system and they are all evolving.
The EU has a massive project to preserve the ability to read and run old software and old data, all of it from every technology. After less than a lifetime we need such things.
Yet I think I have books older than the United States. I have read books older than England.
Mr. Gutenberg may have loved the tools we have now, but I suspect he would have backed up his important documents to paper copies.

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Nix on digital public library
by Bageech / November 26, 2013 10:30 AM PST

I already have that available at home if I want to use it. I much prefer reading from a book or a magazine than reading extensively on a screen. If there is much to read, I generally print it out. Magazines on paper are going away and I am not subscribing to them on line. The computer magazines I used to subscribe to are gone. Goodby.

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Rural libraries
by novumva / November 26, 2013 10:51 AM PST

As a member of the governing board of a small rural library, the idea of a library with no paper is appalling. I also feel a library with no public computers and e-book access is a very poor library. Too many folks have poor or non-existent computer skills; a library can be a place to learn computer skills. But there must be paper books, magazines, newspapers, childrens' story hours, etc. for those who prefer or need paper. We are part of a consortium of several small libraries who go together to purchase access to e-books and provide free wifi and computer access, for the many folks in our community who do not have it at home, but our paper circulation is the most used part of our collection. Public libraries must provide both paper and electronic resources.

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Change happens
by bukosky / November 26, 2013 1:33 PM PST
In reply to: Rural libraries

The times are a changing! I bet the horse tying posts are long gone from in front of the libraries but how many people resisted the car?

Just the Internet itself renders much of the value of a public library obsolete. Libraries have become entertainment and a place to drop the kids off for a while. This is not the purpose of government. Oh, if the majority want a library, so be it. I won't deny The People to make local government what they want. Myself, if I want a book, I buy it from Amazon.

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Rural libraries
by novumva / November 27, 2013 12:07 AM PST
In reply to: Change happens
Happy (grin) My small rural church still has mounting blocks to help you into your carriage or onto your horse.
<div> Sometimes urban/suburban folks forget that some of us choose to live fulltime in the 'primitive' places you like to go for vacations. My library is a valuable reference resource in this community; each week we have many students who come for school projects on our free computers or using our wireless access on their computers, and out-of-towners to do geneological research that we can't afford to digitize. We can check out digital books from home. I suspect rural and small town libraries will be a center for users for quite some time.
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by djnova50 / November 26, 2013 11:10 AM PST

Our city library offers traditional books, audiobooks, and electronic books. If a library patron wants an ebook, the library staff gives him a code. He will have to register with the online service. He then selects the title he wants, enters the code, and has to import it to his device.

I check out audiobooks on cd. This is the easiest way for me to read a book. When I was younger, I would read in bed and somehow always fell asleep with the light on. With the audiobooks, I listen to them with the light off and if I fall asleep; my cd player will turn itself off at the end of the disc.

Since I can't afford an ereader, I doubt I will ever check out ebooks.

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Iknow it's coming, but later rather than sooner prefered
by netsiu / November 26, 2013 11:30 AM PST

I voted Like it but actually I'm neutral.
Our Public Library has some computers for internet search, but you know it's hard to sink into a cozy evening chair and read a good old fashioned book or magazine or news paper.

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Why I love the all digital library
by Sandovh / November 26, 2013 12:06 PM PST

I love that idea of all digital libraries and look forward to being around enjoying them for a long time. Imagine being able to access any book ever written on any language from anywhere in the world using satellites, tablets, watch-size screens or even Google glasses!
I expected to support my conviction by quoting Socrates in the dialogue Phaedrus. However, I have found my ideas expressed better than I ever could in the following article:

Thanks, Dr. Parker!


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My worry is that history can now be written and re-written.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 26, 2013 12:16 PM PST

You can imagine many governments would love an all digital library.

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Less Governments...
by chooch.42 / November 27, 2013 3:59 PM PST

...than political "interest groups", religious, ethno-centric/phobic, economic and moral extremists of various persuasions. Look at the effects, real and anticipated, on school textbooks and their contents the state of Texas, with its large fundamentalist Christian (Intelligent Design = Science) and Reactionary Conservative populations, hence School Boards, and even the State Education Department leverages throughout the country by influencing text publishers to "adjust" content to please/retain such a large customer. Libraries, in addition to being public access points to knowledge, are repositories for fact and art, available to anyone who can read, regardless of technical savvy. Libraries are INCLUSIVE...not exclusive to those with computer skills or the economic resources to buy computers and subscribe to commercial broadband - especially in this land of "Free-Market competition", with our comparatively high rates for fair to poor speeds and throttled usage. And, the storage medium (dead trees & carbon) lasts for hundreds of years without being recopied or lost with every storage format or OS generation. Keep the books somewhere, let us use them, digitize them for protection and wider, faster distribution but...KEEP the a place called a library. If the power goes out...or there's an EMP...the books will still be available - able to be read and learned from...with a candle for illumination.

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I don't care for it
by shoilee / November 26, 2013 1:23 PM PST

I have an e-reader...I enjoy carrying by books with me, however I also like the rustle of turning pages and reading. Additionally, I know quite a few people who are very uncomfortable reading on anything but a hand held printed page. It's going to be a few years before our libraries are completely digital. By the way, have you seen some of the editing on the e-books? Auto correct does not always come up with the correct word!

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Hate it & it won't happen yet; but 10, maybe 20 years away?
by feduchin / November 26, 2013 4:29 PM PST

Frankly I think it's highly unlikely as yet.
I use a Kindle for cheap novels. But when I want a fairly 'important' book; history, pre-history, art, science; I tend to buy the book.
People who read seriously; a bit less than 20% of the population; tend to split their reading between what's frivolous and what's serious. 'Serious' doesn't mean merely text books; most students don't give a damn about that text book that helps him to pass an assignment; it means a serious tome that a true reader values such as a book about pre-history, or a classic, or maybe a dissertation on future science, or law, etc.
What will happen is that printed texts will become more expensive. Up to now, cheap stuff is still cheap, but I fancy that the more important books that contain colour plates, etc, will start to become more expensive. This will happen because the 'supporting sales' of paperback versions will be printed in greatly reduced numbers.
Having said all that, I do think it's likely that one day paper print will disappear, and when it does it will happen overnight. The reason will be that 'they' haven't yet made 'that' invention.
Easy examples of 'that' invention are: the DVD that replaced the VCR, the CD that replaced the 'gramophone record', the remarkable digital sensor that has replaced film, causing a vast generation of film-cameras to be suddenly worthless, and the cell phone that's largely replacing the landline phone (especially in third world countries, and gradually happening here too.)<div>When 'that' invention comes along, paper will disappear almost overnight.
Having said that, it won't be easy: People like reading from paper. And I'm not sure why but the tablet doesn't yet do the job well enough.

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Browsing book titles doesn't do it for me
by MickByrne / November 26, 2013 5:13 PM PST

Back when I lived with access to a public library, the best part of a visit to the library was finding a book and then rummaging through the nearby shelves looking at related titles that were clearer, easier to read, or more interesting. Browsing ebook titles is not the same, and the Amazon preview type look inside is not even close, either.
Also, having access to every book ever written is not as fantastic as it first sounds. With the event of file-sharing I am sure many of us have downloaded thousands of books that sound interesting or that we always wanted to read, only to have them sitting unread in a folder or folders on computers we no longer use.

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why not?
by peptidesciences / November 26, 2013 7:44 PM PST

The only advantage of a digital library is the easiness of finding a book title. Their popularity will increase but as long as actual books exist, I don't really care. I like e-books but nothing compares with the smell and touch of paper.

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I enjoy paper
by jrlb62 / November 26, 2013 8:36 PM PST

I do enjoy the feel of a paperback, newspaper and a hard cover book. I still put the paperback in my left back pocket. I also enjoy the speed of electronics. Having a choice may be considered a luxury by some but it's a luxury that works well for me.

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Some people are so clueless
by drykert / November 26, 2013 9:09 PM PST

Why do many places force at great expense so some small group isn't discriminated against but so many open arms to the digital revolution ignoring those that can't afford or have no desire to buy expensive brittle smart phones/ tablets/ e - readers etc. Whats the need to justify a building for a digital storage house. Are they going to let residents rent out a digital reader to read digital books? Can they make copies of the digital book for reference/ research work. While most colleges now mandate electronic devices to attend college there are many that have to stay current in their fields that don't have the latest.. Those of us disabled and no budget are thrown aside like no longer valuable citizens that should be afforded the same access as those that have all the latest and greatest. Some familes have to share one online computer for the whole family. Time for some to wakeup to the whole picture for many in our country.

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There is hope
by Sandovh / November 30, 2013 12:57 PM PST

While I respect your situation, let me suggest not all together facetiously, that we could create the equivalent of food stamps only that they'd be "stamps for food for thought" to assist those on lower incomes and budgets.
As for renting an e-reader or tablet, there are many schools and colleges that already provide them for their students either through semester loans or outright supply.
And, yes, one can print Web based documents for research or simply easier reading.
Just think, would you prefer listening to music only in person in real-time concerts or do you listen to digitally recorded music on the radio and CD's?



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I love it, but you missed the point
by Bob_Meyer / November 26, 2013 9:40 PM PST

The point isn't that it doesn't have any books, that's inevitable. The point is that it's located in a Latino community where most people don't have internet access The point is outreach and computer classes and loaning out e-readers. The point is access. The point is less space devoted to storage and processing of the physical collection and lowered labor costs. The point is, this is a stripped down 21st century digital library, that's small, local, low cost and easy to replicate. The point is that libraries like this can be put in communities that can't otherwise afford a library. That's why I love it.

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I like it, but 3M Cloud downloader? Where?
by wpgwpg / November 26, 2013 10:53 PM PST

I like it I THINK but after jumping through the hoops to sign up & download a book, it said to use the 3M Cloud downloader. I couldn't find this downloader. I looked at the home page, the help, the categories below, but it was nowhere to be found. Very strange.

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I don't care for it
by Willy / November 27, 2013 3:17 AM PST

Being a tech and all that, I'm fixed many a electronics device in whatever media you want to consider. Take it with a grain of salt, back-up, back-up, back-up somewhere there better be a back-up. If you didn't know, that same library doesn't have all the books or rather the hottest or latest ebooks out there. Plus, it will be a continuing cost to the patrons or local system if you will. This is an ongoing concern, will the library ever own the books? You don't see the Library of Congress totally digital but it probably will only to suck-up the latest releases out there or have the room to do so. -----Willy Happy

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TWO backups
by marikavs / November 27, 2013 6:35 AM PST
In reply to: I don't care for it

My external backup device "died." So now that I need the backup I can't use it. Nowadays I tell people to have TWO backups, each one in/on a different place/medium. There's nothing like learning the hard way!

Just imagine the bookless library losing electricity, like we did for 14 days after Sandy--you could still borrow books at the library and read them at home (or there) during daylight. I doubt you could do that with an e-reader, even if it 'magically' retained battery charge.

Thus I agree, I don't care for it either, and for many more reasons than the above.

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What happens when we have a total loss of technology for a w
by hagar2935 / November 27, 2013 10:46 AM PST

That scenario is not too far fetched. Iran could nuke the USA or at least some parts of the world and cause severe technological problems. A Sun storm could cause severe electrical problems. Many other things could happen and probably will some day.

There needs to be a secure and safe repository of books so that human history and technology does not disappear. Bookless libraries would be wiped out in a loss of technology.... with no immediate backup.

Besides, I still prefer to read a REAL book!

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No, it's not detrimental to older people
by Didlinghill / November 28, 2013 12:49 AM PST

I prefer to have the option of being able to borrow real books, but I can't agree with the comment that the paperless library puts older folk at a disadvantage because they can't understand the technology.

I am 76, and I find that the older generation make up a sizeable proportion of computer users. I sent my first emails in 1987 on a home-built Sinclair computer with 48K of RAM, and that's 26 years of online experience which few younger people can claim to match!

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Old Technophile
by chooch.42 / November 28, 2013 3:51 AM PST

You say that the paperless library does not put older folks at a disadvantage due to lack of tech knowledge...then, tout yourself as an example, boasting a home-built Sinclair and quite early email use - proclaiming yourself as an early-adopter and tech elite (in the '80s)...not the common experience for "older" folks (I'm 67, bought an Apple IIGS in '88 for about $2000 - didn't even have a modem - no email for me !) My friends consider me a nerd, of sorts, asking ME questions on comfuzer stuff about which I have no clue ! Your exposure, experience, circle of associates, likely colors / slants your view of the common condition. Folks get used to doing stuff their own way (likely as not, non-digital). Innovative solutions aren't on the radar...comfort, familiarity and "it works for me" drive their solutions. Until the computer becomes ubiquitous, 'converses' with (SIRI ?) and understands us, or is, at least seen as a household appliance, there will be late /never adopters, non-savvy users, non-tech-educated folks who will be unlikely or unable to "use / utilize" a digital-only library.

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come on, you gotta love it
by porsche10x / November 28, 2013 7:31 AM PST

Really, what's to hate? The truth is, there's room for both. The presence of an all-digital library doesn't mean that the one with paper books in it can't also exist side by side. And those who think it's ten years off, I hate to tell you but it's here now. My local library isn't all digital, but you can check out e-books just as readily as the printed version. Yes, you don't even have to go to the library to do so. So, it's here now. Silly me. I guess I'm spoiled. I thought every library was already this way.

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What do you think of the bookless library?
by grandmadot / November 29, 2013 12:49 AM PST

I think a lot of things need to be worked out. What about power? Maybe we could use solar power for the library or have a generator. What about people with no knowledge of computers ? What about people who can't afford a computer or a smart phone. People are already complaining about giving free cell phones to the poor. These things need to be worked out before our country becomes a place where only the rich can get an education.

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Bookless Library - not sure
by oclady1208 / November 29, 2013 1:28 AM PST

Since I buy books on line for my Kindle and I have the Kindle App on my Samsung tablet, I'm conflicted on a bookless library. I probably would do fine with it. However, sometimes a book isn't available in digital format and it's only available in paperback or hardback.
On the plus side, I do save a lot of money getting digital books and I'll shop at a used book store for paperbacks. Reference books are good to have in hardback because they have color pictures. And I love having my software books to follow the step by step pictures when I'm looking something up.

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I like it
by Demaclies / December 4, 2013 10:09 PM PST

only problem is, why do they call it a library when it has no books? Xactly... 'cyber' cafe! Well if Texas reads anything like George Bush does... lol... j/k Texas...

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