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Kindles and laptops replace books at this school library

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Somebody had to go first. In this case, it was Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass. Library observers say it might be the first school – public or private – to trade its paper-and-ink library collection for electronic devices.

An article in USA Today describes the school's decision to jettison most of the 20,000 paper-and-ink books in its library collection (a collection, the school notes, that was barely used – about 0.15% of the books circulated on a typical day) in favor of e-books. The library itself now sports three big-screen TVs and a $12,000 espresso machine.

If students are doing research, they use a laptop or library PC to access one of the 13 databases to which the school subscribes. If they're looking for a specific book, a librarian will help them download it onto one of the library's 65 circulating Kindle e-readers.

Brand-new Kindles are pricey (they can run from from $200 to $500), but Tom Corbett, the school's director of Media and Academic Technology, points out that he often pays as little as $5 to buy an e-book – much less than the price of the hardback books for which he often paid as much as $30.

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