New library to be book-less
San Antonio's BiblioTech will be an entirely digital reading room.
San Antonio’s Bexar County seeks to reverse the traditional model of a library with an entirely digital public library, the BiblioTech, which will open this autumn.
BiblioTech will be one of the first digital-only libraries of its kind.
Many public institutions have only begun to implement new technologies. Take libraries. Although computers are available at most, they often function as a search auxiliary and not as the primary media source.
But at BiblioTech personal computers, laptops and tablets will replace the hardcover volumes, paperbacks, newspapers and magazines that usually line the shelves of traditional reading rooms. Although thousands of titles will be accessible to patrons, not a single book will be available at Bexar’s new facility.
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Library members will be permitted to check out e-readers loaded with an assortment of e-books and media. There will be study areas and meeting rooms in addition to an interactive children’s play area.
In a statement, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff remarked, "The ever changing landscape of technology means that literacy is no longer about picking up a physical book and being able to comprehend the words; technology is changing the way we read, learn and thrive as citizens of the 21st Century.”
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The hope is that the new library will introduce digital platforms to communities that may otherwise lack access to technology. And although this library is a pilot program, the BiblioTech is not intended to replace paper everywhere.
So bibliophiles shouldn't find the BiblioTech threatening.
Photo: Courtesy of Bexar County, Texas
Someone in Texas has a sense of humor. Biblio Tech is very close to the Spanish word, "biblioteca" which in English is "library". The irony of this debate over whether or not it needs books is that it's being discussed electronically.
I write books and offer them to the public in both formats. The key is reading.
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