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When Renovating a Library Means Ditching the Books

A Massachusetts school's experiment in taking its library digital has been a rousing success


The library at Cushing Academy, a small private high school in Massachusetts, underwent an extensive renovation in 2009, and the change was more than just physical. The school sold or donated 40,000-plus books from its collection, replacing them with digital texts. Two years into the experiment, the school staff say it's been an unqualified success.

Tom Corbett, the library's executive director, told THE Journal that the school's students "needed a facility that went beyond the 'stacks' and embraced the digital future." So the school donated or sold most of its books, keeping only those—mostly art tomes and poetry collections—that weren’t available digitally or didn’t translate well to an electronic format.

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