If you're a parent who takes the time to sit down and read with your child, you do tend to assume that the school is behind you when it comes to promoting reading and a love of books.
Well, not necessarily. A school in America has taken the (frankly baffling) step of getting rid of the books in its library, and replacing them with a multi-media centre, complete with televisions, computer stations and a cappuccino machine. 'Cos you can have too many books, but everyone needs a cappuccino machine, right?
James Tracy, headmaster of the Cushing Academy in Massachusetts told the Boston Globe that the printed word is becoming a relic, out of place in a 21st century school. He says: "When I look at books, I see an outdated technology like scrolls before books"
So he's getting rid of them.
Mr Tracy denies that dumping the 20,000 books will discourage students from reading: "We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology."
Administrators at the 144-year-old prep school have already given away many of the library's previous collection of classics, poetry and reference material. Instead, a $500,000 on a digital learning centre including flat-screen TVs for surfing the internet, areas designed for laptops and a coffee shop with a $12,000 cappuccino machine will be installed.
The Boston Globe claims that the television sets alone will cost $42,000, equivalent to over twenty five thousand pounds. Money well spent? What do you think?
Liz Vezina, the school's librarian for the last 17 years, said that she'll miss the books. "I love books," she said. "I grew up with them, and there's something lost when they're virtual. There's a sensual side to them -- the smell, feel. The physicality of a book is something really special."
What do you think? In an era of ebook readers and technology, are libraries outdated?
Source [ParentDish US]
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