Paul J. Weber, The Associated Press, reported earlier this year in USA Today about Bexar County' BiblioTech, "the Nation's only bookless public library."
It's a fascinating read, including this:
San Antonio is the nation's seventh-largest city but ranks 60th in literacy, according to census figures. Back in the early 2000s, community leaders in Bibliotech's neighborhood of low-income apartments and thrift stores railed about not even having a nearby bookstore, said Laura Cole, BiblioTech's project coordinator. A decade later, Cole said, most families in the area still don't have Wi-Fi.One interesting angle is that "The space is also more economical than traditional libraries despite the technology: BiblioTech purchases its 10,000-title digital collection for the same price as physical copies, but the county saved millions on architecture because the building's design didn't need to accommodate printed books." -- Namely, books are heavy, and buildings designed to hold thousands of them need to be able to bear that weight.
"How do you advance literacy with so few resources available?" she said.
Residents are taking advantage now. The library is on pace to surpass 100,000 visitors in its first year. Finding an open iMac among the four dozen at BiblioTech is often difficult after the nearby high school lets out, and about half of the facility's e-readers are checked out at any given time, each loaded with up to five books. One of BiblioTech's regulars is a man teaching himself Mandarin.
Other public library efforts to go bookless haven't succeeded in the past. Will this one?
And is this all-or-nothing approach to going digital a glimpse of the future, or a experiment that's gone too far?
What do you think?
Illustrate and Write On,