The Idea Behind Stanford's New Library: Remove All The Books

Stanford University's new Engineering Library is scheduled to open this August, and when it does, it will have 85 per cent less books than the one it's replacing. It's a big step toward what the school's librarians envision as a bookless future.

It's not hard to see the trend: students are checking out less books than ever before. When the Stanford staff looked into the Engineering Library's records, they found that a great number of books hadn't been checked out in five years.

Instead of carrying the physical volumes, the library will offer access to searchable, digitised versions of books and periodicals - especially useful for engineers who often only need to consult the book for a formula or too. And clearing out some of the books makes room and resources for other endeavours. One librarian explained, "That's what we're so [excited about] ...the idea of actually offering more services, offering more workshops, offering more one-on-one time with students." [NPR]