Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Out of print? Town considers bookless library Community center would have Internet, but books would be ordered a la Netflix #savelibraries

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.

Books ALA NetFlix—Read More

By Seamus McGraw
TODAY.com contributor

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