Prep School's Last Chapter in Books; Academy Opens Nation's First All-Digital-Database Library

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Prep School's Last Chapter in Books; Academy Opens Nation's First All-Digital-Database Library


Byline: Bekah Grim, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Cushing Academy library is moving full speed down the information highway and leaving its book collection behind. In order to provide a cutting-edge 21st-century education, the Massachusetts prep school has removed 10,000 books, to be replaced by a digital database.

The remaining 10,000 books will be donated to other schools and libraries by this time next year. This move makes Cushing's library the first fully digitalized library in any secondary school in the country.

Library usage research revealed that an average of just 48 books were checked out from the collection each day. More than 30 of them were children's books, thanks to faculty who live on campus at the boarding school.

Now faculty will have to hold up a Kindle to their children's bedside at night, showing a pixilated Peter Pan. The library plans to purchase e-books exclusively in the future.

Gone will be the days of wandering the oak shelves to find a literary gem. Cushing students will click through a search database to find their resources. If a student wants to check out a book, the librarians' role will be to help the student download it to on-loan Kindles linked to 13 databases.

Headmaster James Tracy wrote on the school Web site that this new electronic learning environment opens up possibilities for the democratization of knowledge that humanity has rarely dared dream before. He said in an interview with National Public Radio that e-books are cheaper than hardcovers.

The price of a Kindle to read those e-books ranges from $200 to $500, making much of the online literary world still accessible only to those who can afford it. Cushing's $42,850 boarding school price tag may be able to provide this experience for students, but it's doubtful this democratic revolution will be affordable to public schools anytime soon.

Mr. Tracy is leading the print purge. He emphasized that the school is not anti-book but wants to emerge as a pioneer of digital education. Our view of the matter is that we love books so much that we want our students to have dramatically increased access to millions of volumes rather than just 20,000, he wrote on the school's Web site. The question remains whether getting rid of 20,000 books is necessary in updating an electronic system.

The freshly hired executive director of the library, Tom Corbett, told The Washington Times that the school wants to focus exclusively on an online database and do it right rather than juggle both print and online mediums.

He explained the difficulties of keeping a physical book collection current, saying the books were rarely checked out and were an inefficient use of space.

Replacing the books will be a $50,000 coffee shop, complete with a $12,000 espresso machine. There also are three new flat-screen TVs broadcasting live Internet feeds on global news headlines.

Mr. Corbett cites these changes as another chapter in the future of libraries.

A lot of scholarly work is done at places like Starbucks. The coffee shop makes the library a gathering place for students, he said.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Mr. Tracy compared paperbacks to antiquated scrolls.

When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books, he said.

Today brings a new scrolling generation, in the form of Internet browsing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Prep School's Last Chapter in Books; Academy Opens Nation's First All-Digital-Database Library
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.