Is it pouring outside? Is there a foot of snow on the ground? Did the local branch shutter because of the economy? Do you live too far from the nearest library? Does your library not have the book you want?
These are just a few of the questions that come to mind when I think of the disadvantages of the traditional library system. While I have written about how libraries have been making a slow but steady shift from stacks to servers over the past 15 years, one of the most promising advances I have come across recently is the idea of loaning ebooks.
Within one week I came across two articles, one by Mashable regarding Amazon’s ebook lending program and another by my high school (the article is not yet on their web site, so I will look to update this post with a link once it is available). Both articles illustrate the advancements in library accessibility that are coming of age thanks to the evolution of the internet and ebooks. This may bring new opportunities to rural communities and classrooms further democratizing literature. Only time, imagination and bandwidth will tell.