While we will always have plenty of uses for bookcases, will their traditional purpose become obsolete? Traditionally, bookcases are used to keep books readily available for easy reference. However, in this modern age many classrooms are relying on their classroom computer to hold a vast amount of information; once only found inside a bound paper book.
Of course, there is always tradition for tradition’s sake, right? Books are tangible, feel substantial and after enough time on the bookshelf, have a great old smell. Well maybe not. It was recently reported that many schools are actually doing way with their annual school yearbook. Traditional schools too, such as the University of Virginia; founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson himself. Reasons sited were budget, naturally, but surprisingly also because of online social sites. Sites such as Facebook, allow students to create digital memories online and remain connected without the need for a hand-scribbled addresses or phone numbers in the back of a yearbook. It makes packing up a door room a lot easier.
Have you been to a library lately? Most of the computer terminals are full, while only a handful of traditional library tables are occupied for open-book research. Many textbooks are now in digital format and students lug around only a laptop, rather than a huge backpack full of books.
This doesn’t mean that bookcases are going to become a rare commodity. Even with the reduction of actual books in the classroom, bookcases will still be around for necessary classroom storage. Instead of encyclopedia volumes, they might be full of computer equipment, digital media files and teacher lunches. After all, we can’t eat online around virtual cafeteria tables, can we?