Florida Polytechnic University is so new that it has only been open for a few days. It’s the latest campus in the Florida State University system, has plans to be part of a new Silicon Valley East, and boasts a striking main building designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
And a library with no books.
The main building is the Innovation, Science and Technology Building, which is where most of the 500 new students will spend their time in class. Its second floor includes the Commons, an area that includes its library services.
The Commons does have librarians and Internet connections to all the standard electronic resources of a university library. It provides access to a digital catalog that launched with 135,000 e-books. But take a look around the room, and it’s completely bookless.
That is, unless a student happens to bring an old-style hardcover or paperback to school.
They might; like most university systems, Florida State makes all of its books available to students through interlibrary loans, giving them access to 6 million volumes.
But the idea of the new Florida Polytechnic library is to move away from paper. Printers for articles accessed online are available but not encouraged. Instead, the staff hopes students will organize their research online with tools that are part of the library service.
There are also some collections of print books that Florida Polytechnic owns, but they are not currently available on campus.
“As for the electronic-only aspect of the library resources,” writes the trade magazine Library Journal, " [Director of Libraries Kathryn] Miller emphasized that it’s the information that’s key, not its form.”