Are College Libraries About to Become Bookless?

Thanks to the electronic book revolution, in the next decade, we could see the end of centralized campus libraries with hardbound texts.

The number of colleges using electronic textbooks available to students is on the rise. But what about the rest of the books on campus—the millions of volumes stored in the library? It turns out the digital text revolution is beginning to turn college libraries into places that no longer stock physical books.

As Time reports, the engineering libraries at Kansas State University, Stanford and the University of Texas are almost completely book-free. And now at Drexel University in Philadelphia, the new Library Learning Terrace, a 3,000 square foot residence hall-based space that opened in June, there are no books at all.

According to Danuta Nitecki, the dean of libraries at Drexel, the terrace is book-free since the role of libraries is changing. "We don't just house books, we house learning," she says. That means defining "a new kind of library environment," one that's decentralized across the campus. Indeed, the space is more like a study lounge. There are cozy chairs, movable tables for study groups meetings and gigantic whiteboards. And, since Drexel already has 170 million electronic books, journals or other academic material in their collection, all students need to do to access them is get online. If they don't know exactly what research source they should be looking for, librarians will be staffing the space, bringing their expertise to the students.

Keep Reading

Video: These Sixth Grade Girls Might Fix the Next Oil Spill

An all-girls school takes on robotics, and they're starting out building robots based on the model that capped the Deepwater Horizon oil well.

\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Remember last summer's BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? Remember the drama over whether remotely operated robots would be able to cap the well? Thank goodness some smart techies designed those robots, or we'd probably still be watching that horrible live feed of gushing oil. And, thank goodness a Delaware teacher by the name of Mitchell Greenberg is training the next generation of smart techies who know how to design and run oil-spill-stopping robots. Check out the 14 impressive sixth-grade girls in the clip above.

The girls are students at Reach Academy, a single-gender school outside of Wilmington. Thanks to a grant, Greenberg's teaching them how to build seven underwater SeaPerch robots that are, according to Delaware Online, "modeled after the robot that helped cap the oil spill." Greenberg says the girls are learning about electronics, circuitry boards, math, and engineering, and, once the robots are complete, they'll be entered into a national robotics competition at Drexel University. Watch the girls in action as they explain what they're learning and drill holes in the robot bodies so they'll sink in water.

Keep Reading

Music: When It Hits You, You Feel Less Anxiety

Bob Marley was right. Playing music for hospital patients on ventilators slows their breathing and makes them feel less anxiety.

Bob Marley was right. A new study lead by a Drexel University researcher named Joke Bradt (she's in the Creative Arts Therapies Department) has shown that playing music for hospital patients on ventilators has measurable benefits.

In studies involving more than 200 intensive care patients, listening to music reduced anxiety and helped slow patients' breathing rates. More work is planned to determine if the type of music played is important. In most trials doctors had plumped for classical music, such as Mozart's piano sonatas, or easy listening. But it may be that for some patients other genres would work just as well, if not better.

Keep Reading