Is a library without books an oxymoron? The bookless library contains no physical books, but could have an infinite number of digital titles. If all goes according to plan, San Antonio will host the nation's first all-digital public library, BiblioTech, this fall.
The project is being led by Bexar County judge Nelson Wolff, who said he was inspired by reading Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson. "If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store ," Wolff told the San Antonio Express-News.
"It’s not a replacement for the [city] library system, it’s an enhancement," he said. "People are always going to want [physical] books, but we won’t be doing that in ours."
Indeed, the artist's rendering for the city's first bookless library looks like a cross between an Apple store and an Internet cafe. It will be located in a county-owned building on the city's south side, where access to technology is lower than in other parts of San Antonio.
"We wanted to find a low-cost, effective way to bring reading and learning to the county and also focus on the change in the world of technology ," Wolff said.
In addition to computer workstations, BiblioTech will have 100 e-book readers that can be checked out just like a book.
"You check it out for two weeks, just like a library book," Wolff said. "In two weeks, your e-book reader goes dead, so you won't have anything worth keeping.”
Wolff will ask the Bexar County Commissioners Court on Tuesday to approve plans for BiblioTech, including about $250,000 to purchase the rights to the library's first 10,000 book titles.