Texas Library Goes Bookless to Offer a View of the Future Public Library

If you're of the opinion that electronic books (e-books) are poor substitutes for the feel and smell of a physical paper-bound novel, fear not, books made out of trees are still long for this world. However, if you're willing to trade those amenities for the luxuries of technology, such as being able to hold thousands of novels in the palm in the hand, the future looks bright. Head over to Texas and you'll spy a glimpse of the future, one that would have been a foreign concept a decade ago.

Over in Bexar County is a place called BiblioTech, the nation's first and still the only bookless public library. As constructed, it's very similar to an Apple Store, according to Paul J. Weber, a reporter for The Associated Press. There are rows of iMac systems throughout, lots of iPads, and hundreds of other tablets for patrons to play with. The librarians have even taken a page from Apple coordinating their uniforms -- matching shirts and hoodies.


It's interesting that a place so close to San Antonio is leading the leading the charge in the bookless library category (several colleges also have bookless libraries, but this is the only public library to go this route). Citing census statistics, Weber says San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the U.S. but ranks 60th in literacy.

Nevertheless, BiblioTech is a success. At the rate things have been going, it will surpass 100,000 visitors in its first year. And according to Weber, once the local high schools let out, it quickly becomes difficult finding an open iMac out of the four dozen that are available.

Would you visit a bookless library if one opened up in your town?