The Time Magazine article, “Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?” heralds the demise of the printed word in academic libraries. The library in question, The Learning Terrace at Drexel University, is situated in a residence hall and features a collaboration and study friendly design, lots of computers and a librarian. The Library Learning Terrace was built to augment Drexel’s three book-full libraries and is part of an overall mission to embed library staff and e-resource access points around campus in a series of “library hubs.”
A bookless library has become very attainable for some courses of study. The Time article suggested a number of engineering libraries that had forsaken the bound volume, but library science has also enthusiastically embraced the e-lifestyle. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently debooked its Library & Information Science library in favor of an embedded and virtually accessible librarian stationed in their department.
The Drexel Library Learning Terrace isn’t nearly as sensational as all that, they’re not getting rid of any books. Libraries have long tried to provide outreach services to patrons. The Learning Terrace is just an e-bookmobile. This is not a death of the library but the beginning of an invasion of pop-up librarianship. We’re taking it to the streets and we’re about to information literacize you where you live. Watch out!