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In our pages: The Newport Beach library considers going bookless

March 30, 2011 | 11:04 am

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