A recent report in Inside Higher Ed has given rise to a lot of discussion. No Room for Books reports on the decision taken by University of Denver administration to leave four fifths of its books in storage off campus. The decision has been taken to give room for “seating, group space and technological capacity” and has not gone down well with faculty particularly in the social sciences and humanities disciplines where print books are still very much in use.
But the University of Denver is by no means alone in clearing its stacks to give more room for informal space for people to meet and work together. I took part in a webinar last week hosted by the Society for Scholarly Publishers on how publishers are moving away from print. One of our speakers was Robert Schwarzwalder, Associate University Librarian for Engineering & Science, Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) who is responsible for a wholly digital library. The pace of change varies from discipline to discipline but the trends are clearly away from print and towards electronic access.