The library is as much a repository for books as it is a gathering place.
But one California city — faced with crushing budget problems and the changing habits of library patrons — may be getting ready to turn the page on all of that.
Newport Beach is mulling a plan to strip its original library, the Balboa Branch, of many if not all of 35,000 books DVDs and stacks of research material. The 50-year-old library would become a kind of de facto community center — a place where citizens could gather, chat without fear of being shushed by a stern librarian, and surf the web.
But if they really wanted a book, they could still get one: All they’d have to do is march up to a voice-activated electronic kiosk; speak with a librarian at one of the city’s three other branches; order it, a la Netflix; and wait by the library’s traditional fireplace for it to be dropped off at a locker on site, according to the Los Angeles Times.
By Seamus McGraw