K-12 library media specialists should take note of a developing trend: Several college and university libraries have begun to trade their books for laptop computers that students can check out and use within the library for their research.

The most recent example is Pennsylvania State University, which tore the shelves out of its undergraduate library last summer, rewired the whole place, and turned it into the university's first digital library. Now, students can come 24 hours a day, sign out one of 50 laptop computers, and plug in at a relatively private desk.

"The books are gone, the newspapers are gone,


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