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This library without books might be the library of the future.

Library budgets might be shrinking, but digital libraries like this one are on the rise.

This library without books might be the library of the future.

Can you imagine spending a day without going online?

According to Pew Research, 84% of American adults use the internet daily. And while most people have access to the internet at home, many others rely on libraries to get connected.

That’s why “libraries without books” are slowly on the rise all over the country.

Book-less libraries, which are all about online resources, have been popping up all over the country in the past year, as many traditional libraries are forced to close their doors.


And while the lack of hardback books in the libraries might feel weird, this new model could be the best way to keep libraries open. Book-less libraries can offer e-books and a whole lot more: teaching surrounding communities tech skills and offering access to the web and to amazing digital tools too.

Take Do Space, for example, a nonprofit community center located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Photo courtesy of Do Space Library, used with permission.

Do Space is a “modern library,” offering a super unique take on the digital library idea. In Do Space, desktop workstations are equipped with software for the Adobe Creative Suite and 3D modeling. The library also has advanced equipment, like 3D and laser printers. All its services and programs are available free of charge.

When you first walk into Do Space, you won’t find any physical books.

However, you’ll find a welcome desk, a computer lab equipped with 56 computers, private conference rooms, a tech support/printing station, comfy lounge chairs, and of course, free wireless internet throughout the entire building. You might even spot a child playing with a robot operated by an iPad.

“We do have a distinct digital divide in Omaha,” Executive Director of Do Space, Rebecca Stavick said.

When she worked at an Omaha Public Library Branch, Stavick recalls people waiting for nearly an hour for a computer during peak times. “It’s really tough when you don’t have one at home and that’s your only access point,” Stavick adds.

Do Space’s services are all free and open to the public, as they believe digital resources should be available to everyone.

Although membership is required to register for events and workshops, that membership is also free.

Photo by the author, used with permission.

At Do Space, the young learner classes teach children how to build their own inventions using technology provided by the center. The space also hosts weekly meet-ups for artists, game developers, and professionals.

Photo by the author, used with permission.

As an example of their monthly programming, in June 2016, other free programs are based around digital eyewear, computer-programming for beginners, and laser-cut jewelry. Programs are designed for different age groups, from babies to seniors. The Big Littles Lab even invites children between 6 and 8 years old to participate.

Integrating digital technologies into programming might be one of the best ways to keep libraries alive.

And research backs that up too. Pew Research reports that many Americans want their libraries to embrace new technologies, particularly high-tech gadgetry.

And although Do Space’s partnership with a local community college is particularly unique, components of the center can be seen in other parts of the country. Bibliotech, in San Antonio, provides 10,000 e-books pre-uploaded onto 600 e-readers, proving you don’t have to sacrifice literature to run a book-less library.

Florida Polytechnic University opened a pristine campus library without a single book in 2014. Instead, the space offers comfortable reading chairs and tons of digital resources, as well as a "reference success" desk with staff.

And there's a preparatory school outside the Boston metro area that transitioned away from a 20,000-volume library in 2009, moving toward a learning center with no books at all.

Photo courtesy of Do Space Library, used with permission.

While Do Space is bragworthy for the Silicon Prairie, it could soon inspire other libraries to adapt to the digital age too.

And when it comes to saving our libraries, that's a pretty great place to start.

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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the annoucnement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

Sakae Kato stayed behind to rescue the cats abandoned by his neighbors and has spent the last decade taking care of them. He has converted his home, which is in a contaminated quarantine area, to a shelter for 41 cats, whom he refers to as "kids." He has buried 23 other cats in his garden over the past 10 years.

The government has asked the 57-year-old to evacuate the area many times, but he says he figured he was going to die anyway. "And if I had to die, I decided that I would like to die with these guys," he said.

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