San Antonio library explores the future with e-books
One Texas library is hoping to change the way books and libraries are used.
True, Bexar County's BiblioTech, touted as the U.S.'s first bookless public library, does lack the well-used hardcovers one usually finds in a library. However, it does have row upon row of new iMacs and iPads ready to use. Patrons can even borrow the tablets, providing they have a valid user card, of course.
The concept is so novel that officials from across the country and far-flung locations like Hong Kong have come to learn about BiblioTech and the idea of a library without books.
Mary Graham, vice president of South Carolina's Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, said that "This is the future. If you're going to be building new library facilities, this is what you need to be doing."
The move to ebooks was prompted, in equal measures, by desires to increase literacy in the area and to save funds in terms of structural costs.
Head librarian Ashley Elkholf noted that "If you have bookshelves, you have to structure the building so it can hold all of that weight. Books are heavy, if you've ever had one fall on your foot."
But what does the public think of the advance in reading technology? Judging by the fact that the library is on track to receive 100,000 patrons in its first year and that half of the tablets are checked out at any given time, the switch to e-books has been a popular one.