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In our pages: The Newport Beach library considers going bookless

Newportbeach_2010
Although a library removing books from its shelves sounds like it's going to turn into a story about e-books, this one is not. Newport Beach, which is considering a bookless library, thinks its readers still wants printed books. It's considering a borrowing model that's part Netflix, part Max Headroom -- in which the library itself would be a place to hang out and read, but not where the books would be stored.

In our pages today, Mike Reicher writes:

In a sign of the times, Newport Beach is considering closing the city's original library and replacing it with a community center that would offer all the same features -- except for the books.

Instead of a reference librarian, patrons would be greeted by a kiosk equipped with video-calling software that would allow them to speak with employees elsewhere. And books -- when ordered -- would be dropped off at a locker for pickup....

Newport Beach is weighing a Netflix-like system in which readers could order books and then pick them up from lockers at an "electronic library," a 2,200-square-foot room with a central fireplace and a kiosk where patrons could select titles online.

Part of the impetus for the change is anticipated California budget cuts. Read the rest of the story here.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Summer in Newport Beach. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 
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I'd like to know what a "reference librarian" does. Most of them wear angry faces and a virtual sign around their necks that says "Do Not Disturb". I think library staff burn out early from dealing with sundry public inquiries on a daily basis, so this model will be a boon for burnt-out library staff by relieving them from the unhappy drudgery of their jobs.

To the "San Diego library patron":

If you want to know what a "reference librarian" does, why don't you ask rather than make rude, snide remarks. If you knew anything, you'd know that working people burn out because they make their work personal.

And by the way, FYI, the government issued the results of a report a year or two ago that showed public librarians were the fourth most stressed out of all public service employees. So there, shove it where the sun doesn't shine....

TO: Dancing Scorpion

Re-read my post. I won't ask a Reference Librarian what he/she does because their angry faces put the fear of God in me. I suspect, from your anger, that you are a Reference Librarian. Too bad you chose a career path that does not suit you and, as you said, has led you to personalize your workplace/service interactions. Don't forget that you signed on the dotted line to be a public servant and the public pays your salary.

What a dumb idea. I have to go in to order and then go in to pick it up? Nothing available if I just want a quick pick?


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