For $44,000 a year, parents can send their sons and daughters to Cushing Academy, a Massachusetts boarding school that boasts a “bookless campus,” reports Roger Kimball in Barbarians at the Gate,
Actually, the headmaster, James Tracy, opened the gate, The New Criterion reports. He sees books as an “outmoded technology.”
Cushing is disburdening itself of its library’s 20,000 books and spending $500,000 to establish a “learning center” — the name, the Globe reports, is tentative, but whatever they settle on you can be sure the scare quotes will be appropriate. Of course, once you dump a library’s books, you have a lot of extra space to fill, so Cushing . . . will be spending $42,000 for some large flat-screen monitors to display data from the Internet as well as $20,000 for “laptop-friendly” study carrels. In place of the reference desk, the Globe reports, Cushing is building “a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.”
When I was in high school in the ’60s, our library was renamed the “Instructional Materials Center.” I got in trouble with the library staff for making fun of the change in the school newspaper. But we still had books.