A library without books sounds like an oxymoron. But Stanford University's engineering library is about to kiss 85% of its titles goodbye.
As reported on NPR Thursday morning, the library's new building houses just 10,000 physical volumes, down from 80,000. Stanford's librarians told NPR that more and more students are getting the information, periodicals, and even full texts they need via the Internet. Online, it takes students mere seconds to find the same formulas that once sent them hunting through the stacks.
Academic texts' shift to the Internet could be great news for Google
The move toward e-books is also a potential boon for Apple's
Textbook publishers such as McGraw-Hill
Librarians might not suffer, either, even as the information they curate migrates online. NPR reports that Stanford's library staff is looking forward to less time lugging books back and forth, and more time working one-on-one with students seeking knowledge.
As for the 70,000 books vanishing from Stanford's shelves, they probably won't be missed. According to NPR, most of the books excluded from the new library hadn't been touched in five years or more.
Fool online editor Nathan Alderman fondly remembers his alma mater's baffling, ultramodern terror-maze of a library. He holds no financial position in any company mentioned here. The Fool's disclosure policy scrawls investing-related graffiti in the study carrels.