Saturday, March 26, 2011

Newport Beach, California Wants a New Library, But Without Books

This might be a bit controversial: the Newport Beach, California, Public Library is considering closing one of its four branches and outfitting a planned community center with everything that the closed library offered, except the books.

At a meeting about the Balboa Peninsula's Marina Park development, city officials unveiled plans to close the Balboa Branch Library -- which houses 35,000 items, including books, DVDs and other materials -- and to dedicate a portion of the Marina Park Community Center to an "electronic library."

By eliminating books and librarians at the building, they said, they hope to adapt to modern times and save money while providing residents with services they'll actually use.

Officials analyzed how its patrons use the branches and found that most come for a quiet place to study, to plug their laptops into work spaces and to use the Internet-connected library computers. Few of them actually remove books from the shelves.

If residents still want to borrow a real book from the library, they will be able to order it online from the other branches and pick it up at Marina Park. Instead of holding books behind a desk, the library would drop them off in individual lockers.

You can read the full story at,0,4121813.story

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