10 Million Dollar Library Expansion

Dale Pritchett, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Logos, is today’s guest blogger.

A quick search on Google will show there is a whole lot of fund-raising going on to finance brand-new climate-controlled luxury homes for old-fashioned paper books. Construction projects abound—ranging from 1.5 million dollars to more than 40 million dollars. They all share common characteristics; high construction costs, engineers, permits, contractors, bricks and mortar, real estate, parking lots, lengthy construction times and of course, literally tons of paper books.

Guess what else all physical library projects have in common? They all require a substantial commitment on the part of the patron to physically travel in order to visit the books. They are all designed to meet the needs of a thousand year old residential learning model in which a select group of geographically local individuals, for a prescribed period of time, cram as much information as possible into their heads before they scatter across the world and leave the library behind them forever.

With nerves of steel, I will resist the temptation to offer contrasts to the Libronix Digital Library System—you can do that for yourself. The world is changing rapidly and I am sure glad I don’t have to raise money to build library buildings. I feel the pain of those who are caught in the middle of the first major paradigm shift in more than a thousand years.

I will make one final comment: If I could divert funds from just one of those 10 million dollar brick and mortar library expansions to an investment in world missions, I could equip every full-time missionary in the world today with a Scholar’s Library, instead of putting up a building that a few hundred or few thousand people might someday decide to travel to and try to find the right book in. A little goes a long way.


  1. Let’s hope others catch the vision of the digital wave. Pretty soon it may turn into a Tsunami.

  2. I like my electronic library, but there’s one advantage to hardcopies — you never have to worry that the next version of some software will render it useless.
    I expect Logos will be around for a long time, but the day will come when either my kids or their kids will have computers that won’t open Libronix. But they’ll still have my books.

  3. That “residential learning model with the select group of geographically local individuals” is designed to train those who will be serving select groups of geographically local individuals so there is at least SOME benefit to learning how to properly interact face-to-face with a select group of geographically local individuals in the context of the subject matter that is the basis for the formation of these select groups that will be served. ;-)
    That said – I still would love to have as many of those paper books as possible in my electronic library!

  4. Andy Anderson says

    The money that is spent for such libraries could be better utilized by providing digital libraries to all of the students that attend the bible college or seminary. After a student leaves the campus, and serves beyond the location of the library, I would imagine that few graduates return to use such a resource, due to location, cost, etc. The digital theological library moves with the student, and the student continues to use this resource for life, and is equiped to serve the Lord whereever they go.
    This is about stewardship, and Dale’s thoughts are right on the money, and that is to invest into the very people that are being trained, and that investment will be spread throughout the world, and not kept in the box, limited to the use of the current student.

  5. Dan DeVilder says

    I love Logos or I wouldn’t be reading this blog. But there is both and aesthetic and a practical benefit to hardcopies. Aesthetically, it is great to hold a solid, leatherbound, book in ones hands. The feel of it can’t be duplicated (as of yet) with electronic books. Practically, it is much easier to read a book anywhere from sitting on the can to riding on a metrobus. I don’t have to rely on battery life or an outlet. I don’t have to have a laptop powered up and flipped open. That having been said, when will logos make their books transferrable, by individual copy, to PDA’s etc? It would be sure great to take one leadership book or commentary “off the shelf” of my harddrive and take it with me to the, ahem, aforementioned places. Or, I could “loan out” a book to a friend, like I do my own current hardcovers. Consider these things, please, my friends!

  6. Jonely Moy says

    In addition to being able to transfer Logos books to a PDA, if you develop an auto-scroll function so that I don’t have to click to turn the page, or hit “page down”, you’ll have yet another leg-up on hardcopy books.

  7. Dave Phillips says

    There is already an “auto-scroll” function of sorts. If you’re using a mouse, click the scroll wheel, which brings up a little icon which looks like an up arrow and down arrow. Then move your mouse down a little bit and the text will start to scroll. Depending on how far you move the mouse, the text will scroll slower or faster. I use this and it is very helpful! You should be able to do this on laptop even without a mouse, but I’m not sure how to activate it.

  8. A quick and easy way to “auto-scroll” in Libronix is to click the middle wheel of your mouse then drag the entire mouse a little bit down to scroll slowly, or way down to scroll quickly.

  9. The paradigm shift from brick and mortar to digital architecture is a leap that is going to take a lot of thought and planning. I have always been excited about the conversion of paper documents to digital documents. In the very infancy of the beginning of this shift I packed up my books and sent a list to a book house in Grand Rapids. A lot of room in the study was created for my computer and peripherals. It was painful to see some of my treasures leave, but I knew that digital books were the wave of the future. All this being said I direct your attention to an article in the Scientific American that outlines the challenges that are ahead for this shift to be successful. http://www.clir.org/PUBS/archives/ensuring.pdf

  10. Dan DeVilder says

    interesting article.
    On a different note: I wonder if someone will invent a computer that has the feel of a leather bound book in “weight” and “feel” (as one holds it), AND perhaps can have a flexible page screen, to simulate turning pages. Or at least being able to “open the book and see two pages at once, “flipping” the pages by the touch of a button, which would change the screen view, while not necessarily physically turning pages.

  11. I am the proud owner of Scholar’s Library Gold. It has everything anyone could ever want for good Bible Study. However, there is still nothing like holding and reading a good book. I still have my hardcopy library of books and probably always will have but thank you Logos for producing the best Bible study software in the world.

  12. I too am the proud owner of Scholar’s Library Gold. And I love it. I love having the resources available at my finger tips. But, people like us love books, which is the primary reason with purchased the software filled with the books we love the most. I hope that I’m gone to glory before books become obsolete. Books are portable, easily transferable. I don’t need permission to past a book on to a friend. The books themselves become like old friends. I can’t say that about my laptop!

  13. I, too, own the Scholar’s Gold edition, and I have also received a great deal of benefit from it.
    I also appreciate your comments about world missions. It costs a great deal of money to ship books overseas to places like Myanmar (my center of interest, geographically speaking), and digital books are a great, money-saving alternative.
    Digital libraries make a lot of sense in certain situations. However, in order to own and use a digital library, one first must own a computer capable of housing it (a multi-million-dollar luxury that is out of reach for 95% of the world).
    Next, one must live in an area where there is a reliable source of inexpensive electricity (again, a luxury out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the globe).
    Finally, one must be able to read and understand the vast resources available in a library such as Scholar’s Gold (again, this is a real stretch for most Christians in the world.)
    I would love to provide our national pastors with just a ~fraction~ of the resources available in Logos. Most of them could greatly benefit from the titles in the library, if they were translated into a language which they could read and understand. The millions of dollars you hypothetically dedicate to distributing Logos would also have to include the necessary translation work for the library to be of any use to most Christian leaders in countries like Myanmar.
    Also, one reason I am able to receive the benefit that I do from Logos is because of the time I have spent, and continue to spend, in a “brick and mortar” residential learning environment. Without the personal instruction from learned scholars, who themselves were trained in similar environments, most of the language resources in Logos would be well beyond my reach.
    Besides my Logos library, I have hundreds of “paper tomes” that I would never part with, regardless of whether they were digital. When my PC goes down, or my hard disk crashes, or my electricity goes out, my good friends will still be there, sitting on my bookshelves, waiting patiently to be to be taken down and enjoyed again and again.
    Charles Cherry,
    Springfield, IL

  14. Frank Schutzwohl says

    I am a truck driver on the road a lot and this Gold library is the best thing going. I still have my library at home but as an ex-pastor I have to say this really tips the balance in the favor of the “laity” being able to keep up with the “clergy” on the study of Scripture,history,etc. I have a feeling that the professionals(seminary and pulpit)are going to feel a bit threatened by this being in the hands of ordinary people. This sort of thing could get out of hand and actually build up the Body of Christ Ephesians 4 fashion.;) Trucker Frank

  15. Jonathan Morgan says

    In defence of these projects and similar projects:
    * Some of the books that are being preserved do not yet have digital copies. Without the preservation they may be lost.
    * Many libraries have books with lots of annotations in. Some of these are very helpful, others just give a flavour of the time that the digital copy at present lacks (for the mathematically minded, Fermat’s Last Theorem was written in the margin of a book he had).
    * Books are nicer than computer things. I like the feel of them. As a Bible software developer myself I am quite happy to agree that many useful things can be done with computer books that cannot be done with paper books, but the books have a place of beauty and reality that is just not there for computers. In particular, books with history cannot be replaced, because the history is lost.
    * I personally find books easier to read than a computer screen (though you would never guess from the number of hours I spend reading a computer screen).

  16. We all make priority choices, and due to reasons that are listed above, [computers, electricity, education, etc.] our communities have made the choices to invest in libraries which not only provide access to paper books but also provide computer access to thousands who cannot afford it themselves.
    Since we know you can’t actually divert the funds from the library expansions, maybe you should look into a program to provide several copies of the Scholar’s Library to each ‘brick and mortar’ library that our communities have already invested in. That way you are providing access to all the benefit of Libronix and taking advantage of the millions that are being spent on the Library Expansions. Who knows how many people could be exposed to serious Bible study that way. You could even sponsor a yearly “Camp Logos” to teach students how to get the most from the donated copies of the Scholar’s Library. In fact, since they are going to Libraries, for the public good, very likely the copyright holders would donate their royalties possibly allowing you to provide these copies for free to genuine community libraries.