3 thoughts on “The library, debooked

  1. Elizabeth Chairopoulou

    The Cushing Academy’s endeavours to improve its students’ academic prowess raises some questions:

    [decision to ditch the books] “reflects the way students learn and conduct research today.”

    Have students been taught to learn in this way or are they merely allowed to ‘learn’ in any way that suits them, without guidance?

    “It is immaterial to us whether students use print or electronic forms to read Chaucer and Shakespeare.” True, the format one uses to read Shakespeare’s Sonnets is of no great consequence, but what of the secondary literature that needs to be read to gain a deeper understanding? Not everything is online.

    “stacks and stacks of underutilized books”

    For a book to find its way onto an academic bookshelf, it must first be evaluated, reviewed and then recommended by the faculty. Theoretically this should prevent the squandering of valuable resources and produce a library suited to students’ needs. If these stacks of books in Cushing’s library are “underutilized” then this suggests to me one (or both) of the following problems:

    1. Purchase recommendations were made arbitrarily/irresponsibly;

    2. Teachers have neglected to draw students’ attention to the usefulness of these particular books.

    “Our library is now the most-used space on campus”

    And not the classrooms?

    “Many classes continue to use printed books, while others use laptops or e-readers.”

    I’m curious to know which lessons still persist in using printed books. Perhaps the course in “Advanced Silversmithing”?

    At least Cushing didn’t burn their redundant books (not good for the environment) but donated them to needy causes (good for the soul). The public schools (funded by the taxpayer) must be eternally grateful for the benevolent gesture of private schools (funded by loaded parents). At long last, they too can enjoy the fruits of knowledge, albeit second-hand knowledge on antiquated technology. Cushing’s students can now bask in the glow of their flat-screen monitors in their “beautiful” library, imbuing knowledge bit by bit. (Incidentally, do they still have fusty old human teachers?)

    I think it’s blatant from this extended rant where I stand on the issue of IT in education. But let’s not go crazy and surrender everything to the digital world. With a PhD in History, Dr Tracy should appreciate more than any of us the merits of getting your information from more than one source.

  2. Linuxguru1968

    It I have given you delight

    By aught that I have done,

    Let me lie quiet in that night

    Which shall be yours anon:

    And for the little, little, span

    The dead are born in mind,

    Seek not to question other than

    The books I leave behind.

    Rudyard Kipling – “The Appeal”

  3. 21stCentury Trivium Man

    This all makes me very uneasy. My 3 year old daughter is a fluent reader of books… (Reading age 8). We are having to choose a primary school for her, all the schools (bar one) we have seen are replacing their libraries with screens. The one that hasn’t, interestingly, is the one with the most impressive ‘academic’ record.

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