The library opening with the first day of classes on Monday at Florida’s newest college features a sunlit arched roof and cozy reading chairs – but not a single book.
A fully digital library is among the futuristic features of Florida Polytechnic University’s striking dome-shaped building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
The inaugural class of 550 students can access more than 135,000 ebooks on their choice of reader, tablet or laptop.
A bookless library is a rarity among U.S. colleges but reflects the high-tech ambitions of the university in Lakeland, Florida. Florida Polytechnic envisions building a technology corridor in the image of Silicon Valley between Orlando and Tampa.
Without stacks to organize, librarians staffing the main reference desk will steer students to tutoring resources and train them in managing digital materials. Students can buy traditional textbooks in the bookstore, or digital texts when available.
Old-fashioned books can be requested on loan from libraries at Florida’s 11 other public universities.