Newport Beach’s ‘Bookless Library’ Plan Blows Up

NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — Library officials in Newport Beach want to make it clear that no one is taking the books away.

The tiny seaside city’s library administration and city hall officials have been inundated with phone calls from as far as the East Coast, concerned that the city’s four library branches were going to forgo physical books and go all digital.

“I actually got an email from an English professor in a college or university, I’m not sure which, in New Jersey who had heard the story on public radio in New York City,” Library Director Cynthia Cowell said. “Has a cousin here in Newport Beach who happens to be a physician, and she said, ‘I just can’t believe it. I’m stunned.’”

The misunderstanding stems from a proposed development called Marina Park that was made public last week. The development includes an electronic library, which would mean Balboa Branch, which was the city’s first library, and its books could disappear.

The story, however, blew up, with publications like The New Yorker describing the plan as “going Netflix.” To be clear, the plan was for one library and not for all four of the city’s library branches.

The plan, plus a second one that calls for a traditional library with shelves, books and Internet-enabled computers, will be discussed Thursday afternoon at a meeting.

  • van

    I’m glad that large a number were concerened about it. Most of us HATE the idea of digital-only books.

    • Darleen Janice Brockman Kuhlmann

      What a way to go. So glad so many turned out for us. We need to keep our library here on the peninsula. Just another little thing (which turned out to be big) that the City is trying to slip past us.

  • Paul

    Nothing beats the feeling of having real books in your hands and reading them. The aroma of the books can also inspire (I meant the good smell). You wont get the same feeling with electronic ones. It is a shame!

  • steve

    at some point everyone has to realize the world is changing….lets ask the kids of america….i bet they would rather have an electronic library. they can find and research books faster and more efficiently. then libraries will ask for fewer grants due to the fact that they don’t need to buy mulitple books. they can make one purchase for a download that is unlimited in quantity. there is pro’s and con’s to both…but shouldn’t we all be open to both? can we have a library that has both electronic and paper? its not all about the past but lets work to be open minded to the future.

    • Julie

      Steve, if a library goes all-electronic, they then cut themselves off from all patrons who choose not to/or can’t afford to pay $100-200 for the e-reader. And it’s not automatic that a library gets unlimited copies of an e-book. Publishers can put limits on the number of simultaneous users, or even the number of checkouts an e-book can before the library’s use of it is cut off (Harper-Collins recently enacted a 26-checkout limit on purchased e-books, at which time the libraries will have to but a new copy of the e-book–you can get lots more than 26 checkouts on a print book).
      Libraries don’t have to purchase multiple copies now; some choose to so that patrons aren’t waiting months to read a new book.
      You’re right that there’s nothing wrong with having both formats; the library can reach the most patrons that way.
      Books aside, libraries are community gathering places. Many people take advantage of libraries for their newspapers, magazines, and computers.

      • BuzzMann

        I do agree that it is a gathering place but our library ha been over run with homeless people.From time doors open till they close everyday.They stay on computers,not looking for jobs but updating their facebook.My son works there and so far he has brought home 7 flashdrives that people have left in computers at library.ALL 7 of them are loaded up with viruses and worms.I really hate to say it but maybe it is time to screen patrons to library.

  • j Marshack

    I like to listern to books in cd in my car as I drive to work which is niot possible if it is digital. I perfer to read a o paper copy than an electonic copy of a book

    • R Brown

      That is not true. My e-reader will read digital books aloud to me. I can play the book through my headphones or speakers as I chose. I HATE TO BE READ TO, so I chose not to use this function very often. My dyslexic daughter uses the audio function on days that she is having a hard time reading.

  • M Van Sky

    Let me correct you on a point. Many e-books only require a download of a program so they can be read on your computer or even your smart phone. If you can’t afford an e-reader you have other options, which you more than likely already have access to.

  • » Nation’s First Bookless Public Library Could Be in Texas - Dynam Host ICT Solution

    […] proposal to replace a budget-strapped branch of a public library in Newport Beach, Calif., was dismissed following public […]

  • Nation’s First Bookless Public Library Could Be in Texas | The Tech Blog

    […] proposal to replace a budget-strapped branch of a public library in Newport Beach, Calif., was dismissed following public […]

  • Cities: Prepare for Bookless Libraries ‹ Gauteng 2055

    […] 2011, Newport Beach, Calif. wanted to create a bookless library, but wailing from paper lovers forced the city to withdraw their […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Sandwich Generation

Listen Live