To The Editor:

Libraries without books -- welcome to the Brave New World of the 21st century. I assume the academic leaders who came up with this idea will be publicly disposing of their own books (including any titles that they may have authored) as an example to others. That gesture would show how truly obsolete physical books have become now that you can simply go online if you want to read one. The offer to donate the “retired” books to other libraries is quite generous, never mind that town and municipal librarians say they have neither the room nor the staff to accommodate this.



There may be a few kinks in this new policy, but after they have been ironed out, how about applying the same strategy to other institutions? For instance, how about art museums without art? (If you want to see art, go online.) All the paintings and sculptures could then be sold to private collectors to bring additional funding into the system. Or how about theaters without plays or concerts? (Thereby saving a bundle on ticket prices and cutting the education budget at the same time. And again, if you want to see such performances, go online.)

Maybe in-person classes at public colleges and universities could be dispensed with. Some major private institutions are already offering online courses that could be scaled up to fill the void digitally. Perhaps even professors could join librarians in the unemployment line because Siri and Alexa could do their jobs for free. I understand that there is now an artificial intelligence program that can write a paper on any subject in any style you choose that is indistinguishable from one written by an actual student, so even research may be obsolete. As for libraries themselves, who today can say that they actually miss the renowned Great Library of Alexandria (or would regret the loss of the Library of Congress). The possibilities and potential savings are endless. Let’s bid good riddance to college and university libraries and hope that these archaic repositories can be eliminated from schools and our local communities at all levels.

Paul Hanke