As a lifelong lover of libraries, I was very much interested in “Room to Learn” (March 2012)—a look at the future for libraries at Williams. While a great deal of attention has been paid to how bookstores and publishing companies are reacting to the digital age, there has been considerably less focus on libraries. Clearly, the days when libraries were simply a “temple of books”—a quiet repository for completed research—are gone. But can we imagine bookless libraries? If students can check out e-books from their dorm rooms, is a huge expanse of brick and mortar necessary? How do we find the right balance between making the library a place for academic collaboration and—as the critics of the proposed new café at the New York Public Library charge—”a glorified Starbucks”? By incorporating flexibility in the design, Williams seems to be on the right track of creating a library that conserves the best of the past while accommodating the unseen potential of the future.
—Kate Stone Lombardi ’78, Chappaqua, N.Y.