It was only a couple of days ago that I was posting about physical books being added to hotels and today I read about a public library that will have no physical books on it’s non-existent shelves…nada, nil, none!
The Bexar County Library System in Texas, which includes the city of San Antonio, has just authorized a project to create the first paperless public library system in the United States. That’s right paperless! The BiblioTech project (why didn’t they just call it iLibrary) is to be launched this fall with the opening of their first branch on the south side of San Antonio at a cost of $1.5 million bucks.
As the picture here shows, the resemblance is quite similar to an Apple store and according to the news release will allow its patrons access to 10,000 titles. The building will also include study and meeting rooms, as well as take home e-readers.
I’m confused on whether this is a total county-wide effort or not. In one article it led me to believe that it was system wide, but in another it said that it would be an enhancement. Whatever it is, it is certainly unique!
Of course the checking out of e-readers and e-books is nothing new, as my own public library does that, but to have no paper copies of books seems like lunacy. Well at least to me! Besides the fact that not all publishers allow libraries to purchase their e-books, there is the matter of educating the public on reading electronically. It takes a lot more staff to teach someone how to operate technology than it does to just peruse a shelf and pick out something interesting to read. Heck at our library it’s hard to get the public to even use the automatic check out machines, they would rather wait in a long line than learn how to do it themselves. It will be very interesting to continue following this story and to see what the patrons of the Bexar County Library system think about it!
What do you think?
There’s a great little video on the My San Antonio website about the new paperless library if you’d like to take a look.