Courtesy of Bexar County Government
A library without any printed books has opened in San Antonio, Tex.
The Bexar County Digital Library, or BiblioTech, allows users to check out e-books and audiobooks and opened on Sept. 14. According to NPR, a library in Arizona previously focused on digital materials only in 2002, but the facility later added print books back to their collection.
There are 48 computers and 600 e-readers, as well as multiple tablets and laptops, at the BiblioTech, according to the library. Staff suggest that patrons bring their own devices as well so they can access e-books and other materials more easily, but patrons can also check out e-readers for use.
The BiblioTech was the brainchild of county judge Nelson Wolff, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Wolff came up with the idea after reading about the life of Apple visionary Steve Jobs.
“E-book readership was going up, more ebooks were being produced, so we thought, why not address that segment at probably one-third of the cost… as opposed to building a big branch library?” Wolff said. “We know we’re on the cutting edge. Somebody said the other day, ‘There’s 15,000 libraries. Are you sure you know what… you’re doing? Because none of them are doing it.’ We believe we know what we’re doing.”
Patrons must register and go to the library in person to prove they live in the county. If they’re using their own devices, library visitors have to download a Cloud Library app which will let them access the system and check out e-books as well as look at their account information. The app also notifies patrons of how many days they have left on a title.
Using a desktop app, library users can also read titles on a PC or Mac computer if they don’t have a phone or other smaller device.
Patron Esperanza Pargas, who is 68 and said she doesn’t have Internet access at her house, told the Express-News she thought the facility was “excellent. It’s going to be very easy to pick a book and not have to worry whether I lose it or damage it.”
Belen Mendoza, who is 10, told the Express-News, “I love the games and the library. You can get it at the touch of a button.”
- BiblioTech: The First All-Digital Public Library in U.S. Opens One Week From Today in Bexar County, Texas (infodocket.com)
- BiblioTech: The Country’s First Bookless Library Opens in Texas (readingbyeugene.com)
- Nation’s first all-digital, bookless library opens in Texas (digitaltrends.com)
- Texas: BiblioTech “Bookless Library” On Track to Open Sept. 14 With 700 E-Readers (infodocket.com)
- No books, No Problem: Bexar County Pushes the Paradigm Forward with BiblioTech (voicesdelalunablog.com)
- San Antonio looks to the future with first book-free public library (venturebeat.com)
- A Bookless Library Opens in San Antonio (nation.time.com)
- BiblioTech Digital Library Opens this Week (goodereader.com)
- 1st all-digital public library open in San Antonio (valleycentral.com)
- Several countries inquire about Bexar County’s digital public library (kens5.com)