A Library with no Books!

At the University of Denver Penrose Library, you may find computers, a coffee bar, art, and a community of students but you might not see any books. The University is in the process of removing the majority of their books to an off-site location and revamping the library into an ‘academic commons’ area.

Shelves of books at local libarySome students who are in need of a community within a library will be pleased. They can search for their books online and if they need a book, journal or article can order it from the off-site location.

For another group of people who long to study and research in a quiet academic area, the new layout and reduction of books might be a bit disorienting. Where is their silence and tomes they’ve come to know and love?

Initially, the cost of purchasing a book will switch to the cost of digitizing it. Google planned to digitize 7 million books in six years, however, in three years they’ve only indexed one million books. This will take time. This will cost money. As new books are written they will be digitized for different platforms.

Digitalized information will become readily available to all students.  When it’s time to write a paper, twenty students can refer to the ONE online article or book. Gone is the waiting for books to be returned… they can be accessed immediately.  When a natural disaster hits a campus or frozen pipes burst during a school holiday, all will not be lost.

The thing is this … if I was a student and the books I needed were not available or I had to order them then wait for their arrival… I would probably do my research with what was present or online. I call it convenient research for the digital native.


5 thoughts on “A Library with no Books!

  1. InsideJourneys

    One of the things I want to create is a library. A friend suggested I do the same thing — a virtual library. But the idea didn’t resonate with me — I need the physical books in my hand.

    I can see what that can do for students, like you cite who need several copies of the same title. As someone in the publishing industry, I wonder what that’ll do for authors when all a library will need is one copy of a particular book or just the ebook.

    Interesting development. Thanks for sharing, Marge.


  2. I suspect that schools will have to have a contract saying only a certain number of students will use the book at one time. That’s how businesses and universities do it now — they have a license for software are required by law to follow the contract. And then there’s an audit to make sure they are following the contract. We shall see!


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