Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Bookless Libraries – Is This Our Future? by Dorothy St. James

Jenn McKinlay: As a librarian, I'm sure it's no surprise that when I heard about a new series called A Beloved Bookroom Mystery series, I was all in!!! Today we are lucky enough to have author Dorothy St. James tell us all about her first in this new series and she offers up a subject of interest to every library lover's heart - the possibility of bookless libraries! (Pause to clutch my pearls here)!


Dorothy St. James: Let me start off by saying I don’t hate technology. I rely on my phone far too much (and I almost never make phone calls). I prefer ebooks because I enjoy reading in bed without having to use my reading glasses. And the ability to stream TV shows (on my schedule) has been a game-changer. I love the digital world!

 

But digital libraries? Shouldn’t libraries be required to have real hold-in-your-hands books?

 

My latest series, the Beloved Bookroom Mysteries, is based on an idea that a small town library modernizes to become a bookless library, much to the horror of the librarians who work there. The series plays on the theme of technology clashing with the analog world.

 

Bookless libraries indeed exist. In fact, it’s not a new idea. Many university libraries throughout the world have gone bookless more than a decade ago, relying solely on ebooks and digital resources. A few municipal libraries in the United States have tried out the bookless model. A library in Arizona went bookless for a while, but due to pubic outcry the library brought back the printed books. A library in Texas opened a bookless branch in a low income area, providing vital digital services to a community where, historically, wi-fi access has been limited. Because of the vital services this library provides to its community, this new library has been hailed as a success story.

 

Why can’t we do both? Libraries today are asked to provide more and more services. Libraries are not just about the books anymore. Modern libraries often provide maker spaces, computer labs, community meeting rooms, and more. These services cost money and take space.

 

In my local library system (the Charleston County Library, which is wonderful), the largest regional branch building was 16,000 square feet. However, the library system recently built a new branch in my neighborhood that provides both digital and community services as well as room for all kinds of books. This new library building covers a whooping 40,000 square feet. Not every community can afford to build at such a grand scale.

 

My fictional town of Cypress, located in the coastal plain of South Carolina, is like many small towns in the South. (I know. I’ve worked with similar towns in my past life as an urban planner.) Budgets are tight, jobs are scarce, and towns are desperate to attract industries with high paying jobs. Cypress’s town manager comes up with a scheme to make headlines. He takes what little he has in his budget and invests it into modernizing the town’s historic library into a bookless library. The last town to do this had attracted national press, and that’s exactly what he wants. He then plans to use that press coverage to lure high tech industries into investing in the town. His vision it to turn the region into a Silicon Valley of the South. It’s a big gamble, but times are tough and the potential payoff could change the lives of everyone in Cypress.

 

When Trudell Becket, a Cypress Public Library librarian, protests, the town manager gives her a lesson in budgets. The town simply does not have the budget or space to provide digital services and still offer room for a printed book collection. That’s when my warrior librarian decides to do act. She breaks all the rules and saves the printed books that are in the process of being removed to make room for technology.

 

Real life echoes fiction. COVID-19 has been a challenge for libraries. My beautiful 40,000 square foot branch library has been closed. The only way to get books is to order the books online and pick them up at the curb. It’s a necessary precaution. I’d never want the librarians to risk their health. I only mention this because, ironically, since penning this book way back in 2019, I have been experiencing firsthand the angst that I wrote about in The Broken Spine. I dearly miss walking up and down the stacks, discovering books I never knew existed and leaving with many more books than I ever knew I needed. There is a certain magic in discovery that I love about libraries. As we move more and more into the digital age, I hope librarians will be able to figure out a way to replicate this experience for online browsing.

 

In the meantime, I’ll be cheering on (and helping) warrior librarians who have been working fiercely for years in bringing the best resources to their communities.


So, how about it, Reds and Readers, what are your thoughts on booklets libraries?

 

BUY NOW
 

The Broken Spine, which has been called a mystery that “is destined to become a favorite of all book lovers” by Miranda James, New York Times bestselling author of Cat Me if You Can, is the first book in the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. It arrived in bookstores everywhere January 19, 2021.

 

When a small-town librarian sets up a secret bookroom in her newly modernized library, she discovers that protecting the printed word harder than she’d ever imagined.

 

In fact, it’s murder.




 

Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener Mysteries and the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries. She lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sister’s in Crime (SInC). This is her first Beloved Bookroom Mystery. 

 

Follow Dorothy Online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothy.stjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothywrites

Instagram: www.instagram.com/dorothymcfalls

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

 

The Broken SpinePurchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086SCQ639

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-broken-spine-dorothy-st-james/1136806393?ean=9780593098578

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-broken-spine/9780593098578

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781087855806

 





 

85 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Dorothy, on your new series . . . a secret bookroom sounds terrific! I’m looking forward to reading Trudell’s story . . . .

    I guess I can understand the technology ultimately leading to bookless libraries with their digital collections [and I do read eBooks], but I cannot imagine not being able to wander through the library stacks looking at all the books . . . .

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    1. Agreed. I love that the heroine is out to save the books!

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    2. I'm the same way. I love wandering through the stacks. I don't think that will ever go away. And that's a good thing.

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  2. I love the term "warrior librarian" - it says it all. And please never go all digital.

    We've been making good use of our library's curbside pickup and always thank the librarians who trundle out out load every time. Best of luck with the new series!

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    1. "Warrior librarian" is pretty awesome.

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    2. Thank you! Our librarians have really shown their super powers lately. At our local library, they've even put together packages to take home so we can still do the programs (arts and crafts) both for the kids and the adults. It's been amazing. I always tell them that I cannot thank them enough. Warriors indeed!

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    3. My local library has done the same for kids' programs. It's awesome.

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  3. Congratulations on your new release.

    Bookless libraries? Nope. Part of the library experience is the scent of used and well-read books. It's different to the scent of new books in a bookstore (an equally delightful aroma) and one I wouldn't want to do without.

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    1. That's what I thought, too. There's a certain scent to a library, isn't there, that would be missing without the books.

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    2. Thank you! I didn't like the thought of bookless libraries, too. That's what gave me the push to write this series. Is all-digital our future? Or can we find a balance? It's something worth pondering.

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    3. I hope we can find a balance. The world would be lacking without the tactile feel of books. Another thing that is often not mentioned. The buyer owns a book, but (with Amazon at least) has an indefinite lease of an e-book. It's something that has always disturbed me.

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  4. While I put THE BROKEN SPINE on my buy list when I first read about it, there is absolutely no way that I would ever support a library that didn't have actual books. I'm someone who does not read e-books (a stance that has led me to turn down a number of offered e-books from authors who wanted me to review their books).

    Call it a need for the tactile experience of actually holding a book in my hands but if my local library (which has only recently reopened under strict guidelines) ever went bookless, I would never darken their doorway again.

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    1. I like your rebellion, Jay. I was a big e-reader for a while and now I find I'm back to paper. Easier on the eyes and I just like the feeling of holding a book.

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    2. Ironically, the advance review copies for this book were all ebooks due to the pandemic! I wasn't too pleased, Jay. However, I do love my e-reader. I used to prefer paper books, but right now I need my books to be large-print. My e-reader gives me that option. Before, I could only read the books that were offered in large-print. I do like how that opens up my reading choices. One thing I've been able to do with this series, however, is showcase how libraries aren't just about the books anymore. They have expanded to become community centers and meeting places. And I do think that's great!

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    3. Jenn, in the words of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, "I Aim To Misbehave".

      Dorothy, I've ended up missing out on a few books from Mystery Scene ARCs available because they were only available in e-book format. But even there, I'm only reading physical copies. I admit I recently tried to read one book via NetGalley and it was a miserable experience from the start so I just stopped and waited for the book to be given to me as a Christmas gift. I've lost out on reading a continuing series by an author I love because the publisher switched her over to e-book only instead of doing the smart thing and at least offer a print on demand option.

      I've got no problem with the library offering e-books as an ALTERNATIVE for those who can't get out or don't want to risk anything with the situation these days. But e-books as the only option...NEVER! I've used the library's DVD offerings to watch Grantchester and I'm part of the mystery book club. Multiple services are fine. ONLY one service and a electronic one at that...again I say NEVER! :D

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    4. I agree, Jay. It's all about offering choices to the reader. The more the better. I hope it continues.

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  5. Welcome to JRW, Dorothy. The premise of your new series has me shifting uncomfortably in my seat. I joined the digital book readers club last April when my library was closed for over a month. It's fine. I am glad to own a Kindle now and the dozens of books I have on it. But reading a paper book will always be my first choice. My library and the town libraries in our cooperative system have been super about getting books into our hands. From time to time, I have borrowed a digital book from the library, as well. But, I'll never be in favor of going straight digital.

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    1. I miss magazines. I know it's probably environmentally backwards of me, but I love a good thick magazine full of pictures and articles and, yes, even the ads. They all seem so puny theses days.

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    2. Thank you for the welcome, Judy! I'm so happy to be here today. Jenn, that's interesting that you mentioned magazines. I don't think I'll ever get used to reading magazines online. I love the visual experience, and I think that gets lost on the screen. Same with children's books. I think they must be print, in my opinion.

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    3. Jenn, I'm a big magazine fan as well. I've subscribed to Sports Illustrated for nearly 30 years. I get Mystery Scene of course and I buy Classic Rock Magazine from England. And I pick up issues of the comic book magazine Back Issue when they have a theme I'm interested in. I used to buy a lot more music magazines but had to scale back because the ones I read were all imported from England so they cost a lot more. So I had to say goodbye to Metal Hammer, Rock Candy and others.

      I used to subscribe to tourist magazines Ireland of the Welcomes and Scotland The Magazine too.

      Occasionally, I'll be picking up my copy of Mystery Scene at the local magazine shop and I'll end up finding a magazine that has an article that interests me and I'll pick that up. Yankee magazine is one of those impulse buys.

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  7. Bookless libraries, I have mixed feelings.

    I do read and own lots of ebooks. It is also great that otherwise out-of-print books are now available electronically for a new audience.

    But I have DOUBTS about how long these digital books will be available on my Kindle and Kobo apps. 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? And then POOF, they are GONE. By comparison, I can wander into my home library and easily pick up a hard copy book that I bought last year or 40 years ago. Or look up a library book on the online catalog and put a hold to read it.

    Our local public libraries have been closed again since Dec 26 with the second province-wide lockdown. Curbside system to pickup holds has been improved to protect the library staff even more so that is great. While it is nice to be able to download a library audiobook or ebook while staying safely warm at home, hard copy books are definitely my preferred type of book to read.

    If the Ottawa library system decided to go totally bookless, I would not be happy.

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    1. Yes, I agree. There has to be a balance. I do see audio books are on the rise, and I have grown very fond of them.

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    2. That's such a good point, Grace. How long will the ebook last? Will technologies change that makes the ebooks I have today useless? There's even the question about whether I really own the ebooks I've purchased. No one can come into my house and take those keeper books I have on my shelves. I definitely do go buy print copies of any book I want to keep forever.

      On the other hand, if I want to check out a book in the middle of the night and start reading it immediately, it's wonderful that I can do that with an ebook.

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    3. DOROTHY: Yes, I remember hearing about the issue of ebook ownership when I first started reading and buying ebooks.

      I should mention that in my (former) research career, our government and university libraries were forced to switch from hard copy to digital subscriptions of academic journals when their budgets were slashed by 80-90% in 2010-11. I think most of us researchers were ok with that change since a journal article is on average 15-20 pages long, and easily readable on a computer screen.

      But the worst situation happened at the Environment Canada national HQ library in Toronto in the 2010s. They got a new director who told the reference librarian to dispose of a good part of the historical archives! She refused to do so and saved these publications from going into the dumpster. And good news, that director left the group a few years later.

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    4. Wow, an example of a real life Trudell Becket! Thank you, Grace. I love that! I'm glad she was able to save the archives. When researching this book I had a couple of great conversations with librarians about what to keep and what gets tossed. Not all books will be able to be saved forever. There simply isn't room. But at the same time you don't want to lose a record of our past.

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  8. Dorothy, THE BROKEN SPINE sounds wonderful! I look forward to reading it!

    I read a lot of ebooks, but I still read a lot of printed ones, too. And I agree that one of the unique pleasures of visiting the physical library is walking the aisles and finding books I hadn't heard of. I longingly await the day I can go back to that, when the libraries can safely open again. I am dismayed at the thought of a bookless library.

    While I am on the board of the Friends of the Library for my wonderful suburban library, Columbus also has a very good public library system that meets a lot of community needs throughout the metro area. A few years ago, they hired a new person whose title I don't really remember, but community relations was clearly a big part of her job. She spoke at lots of public forums. And she appalled me with her cavalier attitude about books! I remember her saying, or possibly only implying, that with all the important literacy and outreach work the library had to do, they didn't have time or resources to keep supporting the tired old model of shelves full of books. The next thing I knew, her name and face disappeared from the community. I suspect I wasn't the only person horrified by her vision of the future of the library.

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    1. EEEK! That's not a library person. They're well rid of her.

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    2. I can well imagine that her thoughts wouldn't be welcome, Susan. We book lovers are a fierce lot. And I think we need to be too!

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  9. I applaud libraries for all the digital services they provide - especially in terms of computer and wifi access that low-income families may not have. But I'm old enough to remember the joy of working in my college library surrounded by books, art, and blessed quiet. I wouldn't want to lose that.

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    1. Blessed quiet. I had my own study carroll by a window in my college library to escape my first apt - six girls, three bedrooms, one bathroom. The horror. The library was my sanctuary and then my major :)

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    2. I agree, Liz. Libraries can be wonderful places to escape and recharge.

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  10. Congratulations on your new release! A secret book room? I flashed back to the attic scene in Fahrenheit 451. The Cincinnati-Hamilton County library system has been great: curbside pickup, lots of e-books and digital magazines. After spending all day pounding the keyboard, I want to hold a real book. I wonder how kids are doing with digital books? Probably just fine, though I always associate reading to kids as sitting with them in my big rocking chair, basket of books nearby.

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    1. I recently read somewhere that print books are growing in sales driven by demand from the younger generation. They don't want to read ebooks. And good for them!

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  11. Congratulations on your book release. Most of my reading is digital, that said, I would hate to see libraries go bookless. Some of the best books from my youth were discovered walking down plenty of book aisles. And besides, there are a few books that are not meant to be read digitally.

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    1. Thank you, Dru. That's a great point. There are plenty of books that simply wouldn't work in digital form. I wonder if, in the future, there will be some digital books that wouldn't work in print. That would be interesting to see.

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  12. Congratulations on your new book! Okay, I am still stuck in the last century so I definitely would hate such a thing as libraries without books! While I occasionally read a book on my Kindle I really do not like reading that way. It's unnatural. I am very grateful my library is still offering curbside pick-up which means I am still able to read real books that I can hold in my hand and turn the pages.

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    1. Libraries have been wonderful, haven't they, Judi? I don't know what we'd do if not for curbside service. But at the same time, I've had trouble picking out books for my daughter. We are very used to picking out books that catch our fancy as we walk through the children's area. Our library just opened back up this week so we can get in and pick out books (not stay and write or anything.) Even so, it's been wonderful to see the books again!

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  13. Welcome to JRW Dorothy! I'm with those who prefer real paper books. I have hundreds of books on my Kindle app, but I rarely read them. After spending all day on the computer, reading on a screen is not relaxing. Love the premise of your book!

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    1. Thank you, Lucy. I'm so happy to be here. Screen fatigue is real. We all need a break from it.

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    2. Screen fatigue. I hadn't heard of that term before. Totally makes sense.

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  14. Hi Dorothy! Like you, I love reading on my Kindle. I have a Paperwhite (which is monochrome and about the size of paperback book). Since it doesn't emit blue light into my eyes, I love reading in bed until I fall asleep. I just bought The Broken Spine and can hardly wait to start reading it.

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    1. Hi Cathy! My Kindle is a paperwhite as well. I've learned how to crawl under the covers and prop it up so I don't even have to hold it while reading. I'm sure I look silly, but it's fun to read in my makeshift fort.

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  15. Dorothy, The Broken Spine is definitely on my TBR list!

    I love libraries, I love real books, I love wandering the stacks to look for something new to read. But, I work part-time in a library, small system. We have our regulars (and they are a sad, anxious group right now since they can't come into the library to browse). What I have noticed is that many, many of the books on our shelves never go out. That includes new purchases. Adult, YA, junior readers, easy readers, picture books. Probably our picture books get the most circulation, since local teachers take advantage of our collection. Do we need to 'target' our readers more precisely? Capture tweens and teens by lasso and hold them hostage until they figure out how to open a real book? Our digital services are most in demand.

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    1. Hi Flora. I'm glad to know that The Broken Spine is on your reading list. You bring up a good point. How do books find readers? Librarians at my library will put some books on top of the shelves to give them more exposure. They also have topic shelves that change from time to time to show off books that some people might not have noticed. I've picked up quite a few that way. As an author, it's something I wonder about quite often. I hate to see books not getting read.

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  16. How chilling, to think that maintaining a room full of real books could be a subversive act. Wow. That does boggle my mind, but makes for a good mystery setting!

    Since I became a Little Free Library steward I'm constantly delighted by how often our little curbside library gets visited, and the real books inside are shuffled back and forth. With well over 100,000 of them worldwide (ours is #111381), that seems to indicate that physical books have not yet lost popularity.

    My first place to look for book club choices is the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library system, usually for either an e-book or an audiobook this past year. It's so handy, especially when I've forgotten I needed to have read this month's selection by a couple days from now.

    I fully embrace the digital world, but hope there will always be books to hold in our hands, to share with our children and other loved ones, and to display on our shelves and tables.

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    1. Hi Karen, I hope there will be a place for both as well. I suspect there will be. People will always enjoy experiencing books--how they feel and smell--that the demand for them will never go away. We're already seeing this with the younger generation. They want print books. And I love that!

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    2. When the library I worked at did a big weeding of old magazine (art magazines not digitized!) the staff hid the magazines all over the building in nooks and crannies to preserve them. Librarians rule.

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    3. I love that, Jenn. Librarians are super heroes!

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    4. YES, that's great, Jenn. I have a lot of old magazines, because..um, well, because. I have the 1993 Vogue with Hilary on the cover.

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    5. I can SO relate! I own a houseful of things because I own them and they aren't leaving anytime soon.

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  18. What a terrific idea (in the fiction sense of terrific) to have contraband books! I never cottoned to the Kindle, except in an emergency, but I kinda like reading on the Kindle Fire. It's perfect for when I'm on the treadmill. But in general, I would ALWAYS choose a book book! SO eager to read this! YAY! (and you know...the internet goes down. The power goes off. Batteries die. Eeesh.)

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    1. Thanks, Hank! You're right about the power needs of an ebook reader. My husband used to tease me when we were on the airplane, and I'd have to turn off my Kindle for takeoff and he could keep reading his book. He'd show me that his print book didn't have an off button.

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    2. I always carry my Kindle AND a paperback on plane flights--just in case...

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    3. Exactly! (and I always had a paperback....)

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  19. I love the concept of THE BROKEN SPINE, Dorothy! The elementary school my husband taught at began the process of becoming a bookless library, much to my horror. I think the all-digital approach can work, to an extent, with grownups (and I think it's PERFECT for academic settings!) but for little kids? No. They need to have physical books with bright, beloved illustrations to curl up with in their special reading nook.

    It's true that libraries are called on to be so much more to our communities than "just" repositories of books. In rural Maine, where we have many areas underserved by internet access, local libraries have been boosting their power, so residents can come in their cars and get strong signals. Not ideal, but... who else except libraries and schools are doing it?

    And as for having a bookroom, during the pandemic, I've become a private library for several friends. I drop off a totebag of books I think they'll like, and swap it out on another visit. Those of us who are book fiends always want to share the love.

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    1. Julia, I have mailed books to friends whose libraries shut down temporarily during the pandemic. Sharing books we love with our friends is so satisfying.

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    2. Julia, that is a wonderful idea! Before I drop off books at the Little Free Library, I use hand sanitizer on the book covers and I wear masks!

      Diana

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    3. I'm cringing at the thought of an elementary school going bookless, Julia. I agree. Most children need to hold the books and feel part of them.

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  20. Dorothy, welcome to Jungle Reds! Jenn, this is a great topic!

    MIXED FEELINGS about bookless libraries. Since the pandemic started a year ago and the lockdown started in March, the library has been closed. I started borrowing ebooks from the library and I ordered iPads so that I could read ebooks from the library. I am very grateful that ebooks are available. Though I realize that low income people cannot afford iPads and I feel bad for them.

    Printed books are wonderful. I love taking out books from the library. However, sometimes I find coffee stains on pages. Or dirty fingerprints on the pages. I really hate that some people do not take good care of the books that they borrow. Because of that, I started borrowing new books. I would reserve copies of books before they are published. Sometimes I am the first person to borrow the book from the library. And I take very good care of the books that I borrow from the library.

    There needs to be room for BOTH physical and digital books. I am so grateful for digital books and that I can borrow them from the library during the pandemic.

    Yes, my local library offers curbside pickup. I do not want to risk that because I have seen a few people NOT wearing masks when they go to pick up books. There are always a few people walking by not wearing masks. There are homeless people, who should be housed in Empty hotels/motels during this pandemic and they are NOT wearing masks!

    Speaking of that, because they are allowing outdoor dining AGAIN, I cannot go to bookstores that have restaurants next door. I find myself going to the bookstore at the corner. The restaurants are on the other end of the block so I do NOT have to walk past people NOT wearing masks in the outdoor dining area!

    Diana

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    1. Thank you, Diana. Both is definitely needed. And I am so looking forward to being able to get out again without having to worry. The digital world has been helpful bringing us books and movies while we are stuck at home. I think when we can get out again, we will be flooding the libraries and checking out books in record numbers.

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    2. Agreed, Dorothy, that the libraries will be flooded once the pandemic is over.

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  21. Dorothy, congratulations on your new series! I look forward to reading your novel.

    Diana

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  22. Hi Dorothy, and welcome to Jungle Red! Your new series sounds delightful. I confess that I love reading on my Kindle Paperwhite, but there is no technology that can replace hardcover books. Technologies change and disappear, but you can still read things written on vellum or parchment. And I am horrified at the the idea of bookless libraries! Surely there's a balance between the digital and physical books... Warrior librarians, unite!

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    1. I love your rallying call, Deborah. Warrior librarians, unite indeed! Thank goodness our ancestors wrote on stone and parchment that have survived through the ages.

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  23. I'm definitely in the both/and camp. Libraries shouldn't get rid of physical books, but I appreciate their ebook collection and audio books. I've borrowed movies and gone to events in community rooms. This last year, I've been getting all ebooks and e-audiobooks. It's a way to cut back on how much I have to do outside the condo. So I definitely love modern technology, but not at the exclusion of old fashioned books.

    Loved this book. Ironically, I read it as an ebook.

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    1. The only ARCs for the book were ebooks. So we all got to be ironic reading it that way, myself include. So, yay, modern technology and at the same time don't take away what we already have and love and we'll all be happy. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Mark. Thank you!

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  24. I don’t ever want to see bookless libraries! However, I love print books as much as I love e-books. There was a time when I thought I would never ever give in to buying an e-reader. But my worsening arthritis in my hands and neck made it more and more difficult for me to hold print books in my hands. For the last couple of years about half of my book purchases have been print books with the rest being e-books. I continue to buy print books if the books are written by my favorite authors. The day may come when I can no longer continue buying print books simply because I’m running out of room, as well as the increasing arthritis. But I want people to always have the choice. A long time ago I volunteered for a group that recorded books for the blind and visually impaired. I was surprised when I was told that it wasn’t just visually impaired people who were using those recorded books. They were also appreciated by people who had limited use of their hands due to arthritis or illness or injury. I can see that someday I may need to start listening to audiobooks because it’s getting harder to even hold my Kindle. I am all for books being made available to people in every form whatsoever.

    A funny story: About 30 years ago I sprained my shoulder while reading a really thick book! I went to change my position on the couch (I was stretched out and wanted to sit up) and I didn’t want to lose my place in the book. So, I had the book open in one hand and I awkwardly pulled myself up with the other, when OUCH! My doctor laughed when he found out how I got hurt! If this were today, I would read the e-version of that book, and spare myself from pain.

    DebRo

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    1. That's a great point, Deb. Everyone has different needs. And that's why there are different kinds of books. I don't think we could ever just have one kind. I love listening to audiobooks when driving. It makes the trip go faster, but I don't like listening to them in the house.

      I laughed out loud reading that you sprained your shoulder while reading. Shows that the pastime can be hazardous! That has to go into a book. :)

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  25. Congrats, Dorothy! Bookless libraries--who knew? While I love e-books, I absolutely enjoy print books as well. I also remember the childhood magic of walking around in a library, touching the spines of books and wondering about the worlds within the pages.

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  26. Thank you, Jennifer. I think libraries are magical too. It simply wouldn't be the same without the books.

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  27. Please offer both types of libraries. I reread many of the books in my home library, like Walden which I am preently rereading. My computer is ringed on three ides by books, all of which I have read. I published a book on Kindle and nobody bought it, but the paper ediions were bought.

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    1. Yes, I think offering different choices is the best option. Some book simply aren't meant to be ebooks.

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  28. Yikes. I hate to think of not having physical books. I just haven't been able to get into ebooks, and I don't trust technology to not erase them on me halfway through.

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    1. That's a good point! You don't have to worry about technology changing or the power going out with a physical book. I had once purchased a "keeper" Elizabeth Peters book in ebook form. A few years later, the platform I'd purchased it on was no longer in business and the book was gone as well. I now buy keeper books in print.

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  29. While I read books on my Nook that you can't find otherwise or are a lot cheaper or even free, I prefer print books. Since my Nook is old, I was only able to find one book from the library e-books that I wanted to read.

    I would never read magazines or books with picture, maps, chronologies, etc. on my Nook. I like to see all the pictures and page back to the extra information.

    Another point is that I share print books with friends and donate a lot to the library. Can't do that with e-books. Stay safe and well.

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    1. That's a good point, Sally. You really cannot pass around ebooks like you can print books. It is nice to share a good read with a friend so you both can talk about it.

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  30. I don't think print is going away for a while... If anything, DVDs and CDs are going to be out before them. I purchase the print for my library, and it's still circulating well, although COVID really hit us hard. We are open to browsing, but like someone said upthread, people are crappy about mask wearing, so many of our customers use the drive-up window and e-books. E-books cost us all sorts of money, too. I could spend my whole budget on e-books and still need more. My own reading is mostly on my Kindle these days because I don't want to admit that I need reading glasses :-) Dorothy, best of luck with your book!

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    1. I think you're right, Cari. I rarely use my DVDs anymore, and I use my CDs less and less. My new car doesn't even have a CD player. I was so surprised!

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  31. Thanks so much for visiting us today, Dorothy! I'm thrilled to have another book centric mystery series to enjoy!

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    1. Thank you so much for having me! This was such a fun discussion.

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  32. There has to be room and budget for both, because we are not all alike. Our librarians did budget extra for ebooks when they quarantined, and set up drive-up book deliveries, as well as automatically extending all loans and eliminating late fees. At some point, my preference switched from "tree books" to ebooks, but I still love books in all forms, including audio (if the reader suits). The online catalog and drive-up window are convenient, and Inter-library Loans extend the options. Another labor-saver in our system, books are shelved at whichever branch they are returned to, no longer carted back to the branch that originally purchased it. A couple of times a year, they move some books to keep the numbers fair.
    Now thinking of a sci-fi story in which everyone is "chipped" with a direct link to "all knowledge," but it doesn't work for one man. He learns to read and makes use of all the abandoned books. Then the system crashes, and in the final scene, he's teaching others to read. ;-)
    Having just discovered that much of my previous writing will no longer open, I have more appreciation for paper copies.

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