Out with the Books, In with the People

July 16, 2012 | 2

Libraries, if they hope to survive in the digital age, should do away with physical books and become sites of physical interaction instead, argues David A. Bell. For a starkly contrasting opinion, see Charles Petersen’s critique of the NYPL’s plans to do just what Bell recommends.

is an intern for The Millions. He is currently studying English and Russian at Columbia University.


  1. Our local libraries have plenty of computer stations, and allow people to download ebooks, but there are still plenty of people browsing the stacks, and checking out stacks of books, and reading newspapers and magazines and microfiche (remember that dead media?), and asking reference librarians for help with all sorts of topics. I get the feeling sometimes these folks who are so eager to reform libraries into community centers (they already ARE) haven’t stepped into a library in years.

  2. I wish I had time to go through and argue the n plus one article point by point, but I’m a librarian and have more important things to deal with (like helping the public, the “99%” of library patrons I guess you could say?). also as someone who knows many NYPL librarians, I suspect the quotes that were attributed to unnamed staff members are mostly the author’s own.

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.