Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

November 27, 2006

Libraries without Books

by @ 11:25 am. Filed under Registry Ops, Current Events

As more and more information becomes available online, libraries are making radical changes in how they operate in an effort to stave off extinction. Saturday’s Globe featured a story on the transformation of UMass Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois library. Dominating the UMass skyline, this 28-story structure formerly held 3 million volumes and assorted other tangible documents, but shrinking usage compelled the library to alter the services it offers. A café, 200 public computer terminals and even “cell phone privacy booths” have replaced many of the dusty stacks of books and papers that have been moved to off site storage. The results are positive, as usage of the library is up 27% this year. To survive in the digital age, it seems, libraries must go from places to get books to places to get information (and human contact, apparently). This also illustrates our societal need to have what is commonly called “a third place.” In this construct, the first two places are work and home, but there is a need for another spot, a third place, where human contact and a good cup of coffee are readily available. With our recent movement of thousands of record books into storage as a strategy for making more space available to both our employees and our customers, we here at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds are quite interested in following the experience of other institutions as they navigate the path from the paper to the digital age.

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