When most people go into the library they search through thousands of different books until they find the exact one that they want to check out and take home. Things are now changing for a library in San Antonio, as they are embracing the future and looking to ebooks instead of physical books. This library is the Bexar County Digital Library located in San Antonio, Texas. When guests walk into this library they will not be greeted by shelves upon shelves of classic and new novels, they will just see many computer screens lined up next to each other.
This library is the only book-less one in the entire United States, and was created by Nelson Wolff, who is also a Bexar County Judge. Otherwise known as BiblioTech, this library is one that is sure to become popular amongst citizens. Not only is it cheaper for the city to operate and maintain; it was also cheaper to build. It’s less expensive than traditional libraries and doesn’t require as much space because there are no physical books to stack. There are also less workers required because books aren’t stored on shelves, don’t need to be put away and are easily located.
Lack of physical book processing saves an incredible amount of time and means that librarians can pay more attention to the patrons that are locating books through the computer system. Ashley Eklof is the head librarian for this center, and she said that they can also focus on community outreach due to less time focusing on book processing. This library is a welcomed part of the community, as 63% of residents are Hispanic and the majority do not have access to the internet in their own homes. When they go to the library not only can they go online, they can also check out ereaders and even take technology classes that frequently occur.
Even older residents are starting to take notice of the library. 92 year old community member Jesse Vildaes just used the resources available at BiblioTech to create a blog to remember his wife of 60 years who recently passed away. Although adults can get a lot of use out of the services that this library offers, kids can also have a lot of fun. In the back there is a kid’s room with tablets that are just as big as children! There are also other technologies available to keep kids entertained and still interested in reading.
While a lot of people are embracing this digital library, there are others that do not feel the same. This project did cost $2.4 million, and many of the newest and most popular book titles are not yet available. This is due to the huge price tags that some publishers put on their ebooks, which the library simply cannot afford. Fortunately the library is looking forward to getting new ebooks in the future and hopes at least 100,000 visitors will come and see what it has to offer within the first year of it being opened. It’s a promising start to what should be a new age of libraries in the future.