Bexar County, Texas may soon be the first place in the U.S. to operate an entirely digital public library.
A Judge in the county, Nelson Wolff, is pushing for the construction of an entirely bookless public library. He says it will be called BiblioTech, which is a play on biblioteca, the Spanish word for library.
While some public libraries across the country offer ebooks to their readers, none operate as completely paperless. Wolff wants to change that. He reportedly got the idea after reading the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs.
The BiblioTech will resemble an Apple store, says Wolff. Readers will be able to go in and read ebooks on site or take them home either on their own device or on rentable ereaders.
“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. “It will help people learn,” he said.
He estimates that the first 10,000 ebook titles would cost around $250,000.
To Wolff, it wouldn’t only benefit residents intellectually, but the county would benefit financially. As of right now, Bexar county doesn’t have its own public library system. They actually pay $3.7 million a year to give residents access to San Antonio’s public libraries. But that cost may nearly double, says Wolff.
The BiblioTech would be the nation’s first public library to go completely no-paper. Other places have considered it, even making proposals to begin construction – but none have been realized. There are also bookless academic libraries, but no true bookless public libraries.