In 1982, it was predicted by the librarian Wilfrid Lancaster in his book Libraries and librarians in an age of electronics that:
A “research library” of the future, then, need not contain any printed materials at all. It could be a room containing only terminals. Apart from archival repositories of printed records of the past and institutions designed primarily to lend inspirational/recreational reading materials, the libraries of today could well disappear.
Well the future is now here. Ebooks by every measure are increasingly becoming the default publishing format. There are now extant libraries that have no paper books, academic libraries across the world are destroying or putting into storage up to 80% of their paper holdings. Public libraries across the world are also closing due to funding cuts. If you are a librarian still unsure of the value of eBooks, there is probably a museum of historic formats somewhere you could be working in. Otherwise, you need to start being proactive about delivering users what they want, in any format at any time.
Btw, here’s a little guide:
Also: I am still of a mind that there needs to be an Australian library consortia approach to negotiating eBook loans with publishers for our libraries, CAUL is working with vendors, what is being done for public libraries, nothing probably – NSLA, ALIA, PLA, anyone?