What’s a library without books? Some bookless libraries




I read about a library without books sometime in the late 1990s, I don’t remember what college or university in New York  had no room in its library for a computer lab. So it opened one in another nearby building it owned and called it a branch library. Why? Because it was staffed with librarians. In principle, it’s not the presence of a book collection that defines a library. A library simply requires librarians. In recent years, however, libraries have experimented with bookless libraries based on digital technology. That is, they have books, just not printed books. How is that … Continue reading






Innovative library services: some kudos and a rant




Libraries exist to serve the needs of their public. Traditionally they have existed to serve needs for information and entertainment. That accounts for the books, periodicals, computer resources, and audiovisual collections, but not necessarily every service or collection. The Helen Plum Library in Lombard, Illinois lends out paintings and sculptures. I found the sculptures handy when I was teaching a humanities course, but apparently most people borrow them just to redecorate their homes for a short time. In earlier posts 3 unusual and unexpected library services and 5 more unusual and unexpected library services I have called attention to unusual ways academic and public … Continue reading






Chicago Public Schools vs school libraries




Harold Howe, author of Thinking about Our Kids, has said, “What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it thinks about education.” They must not think much about education in Chicago these days. They have taken school librarians out of the library and assigned them to classroom teaching. I learned of the problem from a report on National Public Radio. I lived in the Chicago area for more than 20 years, and during the last 15 years or so of that time, I was married to a suburban elementary school teacher. We lived through a strike. … Continue reading