Do Libraries Need Books?

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This is a link to a fascinating debate organised by the The Editors of the New York Times, one of the world's biggest newspapers. Today, you can download thousands of books off the internet, onto your computer, or onto readers such as the "Kindle" made by Amazon and the "iPad" made by Apple. Also, when looking up information for research purposes, the internet is often better than books, especially if you have access to research databases.

But, can 7 years old really learn to read without books? And isn't reading off a computer screen very distracting? Doesn't a book help you concentrate? Even if some very wealthy schools in the US can manage without books, can that work in South African when most schools don't have internet access?

Click to see the debate on the New York Times website.