Students at Florida’s newest university are being forced to embrace the digital world, now it has opened one of the first bookless libraries.

Classes at Florida Polytechnic University started this week, and its 550 inaugural students will be able to access more than 135,000 e-books on a range of readers, tablets and laptops, in a $60m (£36m) library designed by Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava.

Although the university only has to pay when a student or faculty member uses a book twice, Florida Polytechnic University has also budgeted a huge $60,000 (£36,000) to buy titles through software – allowing students to actively choose the materials available to them.

On top of this, without the need to organize a large number of books, library staff will be free to guide students to resources and train them in managing digital materials through the new ‘Success Desk’. 

Kathryn Miller, the university’s director of libraries, defended the decision to go digital, saying: "It’s a boldly relevant decision to go forward without books."

This notion was also echoed by Carrie Russell, a Policy Analyst for the American Library Association, who told Reuters that: "Digital in some ways in better. People can find things easier, and they can discover more things by accident."

However, although students are discouraged from using its printers too much, the library is not entirely paperless. There will also be the opportunity to request books on loan from libraries at Florida's 11 other public universities.

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