Nightly News   |  September 14, 2013

Check out the library of the future

It’s a library without any books. Could this digital reading room be the way of the future? NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> sign of the times . the opening of a new public library today in texas. that may not seem like big news but it is notable for what's missing -- books. at least the kind of on paper. we sent januaet shamlian to browse around.

>> you will want a pass word.

>> reporter: it looks like an apple store . rows of shiny computers.

>> you would say reader apps. that's where you want to go.

>> reporter: there is nothing to buy here. the bibliotech is a new public library .

>> they can browse the entire collection, choose what they want to read right there.

>> reporter: there are 10,000 titles but not a single hardcover or paperback. every book is digital.

>> we fell in love with e-books, but it is expensive to be constantly purchasing them. the idea of borrowing them from the library is very appealing to us.

>> reporter: for those without an e-reader, there are 600 for loan. they turn off if not returned. for all that a paperless library offers it can't offer the ability to wander the stacks, browse the aisles and make a decision on a book simply because there is something physically about it that caught our eye.

>> scan your card here.

>> reporter: the county planner says the decision to go digital cost $2.5 million, far less than a traditional library, and allows those who can't get to the building to use its re sources.

>> i don't need to build a 250,000-square -- foot central library . less cost. can't give you everything you may want, but we are giving you a lot.

>> reporter: for children tablets can be checked out, preloaded with books and interactive games .

>> i was skeptical. before i had this job i worked as a high school english teacher . so i like books. i like things you can hold. this is the uh way things are going.

>> you enter your card information.

>> reporter: a new library test drives virtual borrowing as reading go s from paper to pick pixels.