Going (almost) bookless has made Cushing Academy’s library a popular spot
ASHBURNHAM — Until 2009, the library at Cushing Academy, a small, co-ed private boarding school, looked like any other school library: a crowded space packed with dark canyons of books. It was, says headmaster James Tracy, the least used building on campus. Then, a little over a year ago, Cushing got rid of almost all of its 20,000 books in a radical shift to create a digital library. The goal was to liberate students from stacks full of outdated reference material and mold them into online artistes adept at pursuing research through mastery of databases — information literacy, in short. To some, the change was a smart step into the digital reality of the 21st century. Others were appalled.