- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

WATERVILLE, Maine (AP) - A debate is brewing at Colby College over the role of books in the digital age.

Thousands of volumes from the Waterville school’s Miller Library have been moved to off-campus storage as part of a $12.3 million renovation project. The books moved amount to about 40 percent of the collection.

Places once occupied by book shelves are being replaced by large, open study spaces.

A group of 76 faculty members have signed petitions against the renovation, saying books are essential to the learning process.

History professor Robert Weisbrot tells the Morning Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1m6gctU ) physical books arranged by subject are important in part because the act of browsing can expose a researcher to different angles and ways of thinking.

School officials say the renovation will actually allow the preservation and expansion of the collection.

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Information from: Morning Sentinel, http://www.onlinesentinel.com/