Florida Polytechnic University's Bookless Library Opens, Because When You Think "Library," Why Think "Books"?

See that photo above? It's of a library. With books. I'm not entirely sure where it was snapped, but one thing's certain: It wasn't taken at Florida Polytechnic University's bookless library, which just opened this week.

According to The Guardian, the STEM-only school's library is still a physical building — a massive, 11,000 square-foot one at that — but instead of housing a single physical book, it offers roughly 135,000 digital titles and computer terminals for its inaugural class of 500 students to access them.

There is an option for students to get — um, what do you call them? — hardcovers through the Florida state university interlibrary loan system, which grants access to 6 million print titles. The school encourages ebook reading, however, saying that interfacing with the digital-only system will "help students become better technology users and learners."

Maybe so. I'm not sure how much I've learned from pressing the "Buy Now" prompt on my Kindle, though, admittedly, there's more to FPU's system than that — they aim to nix printing of articles, as well, keeping students constrained to working on their devices. There is that all-important debate to factor in, too, as to whether more cognitive activity takes place when reading occurs on the page as opposed to the screen.

Regardless, it'll be cool to see what happens here, and how students adjust. Maybe "dead tree books" will just be another thing the Class of 2018 doesn't know about.

Image: cosmic_bandita/flickr

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