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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

First public library without books coming in 2013

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CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

An artist's render of the library concept.
(Credit: BiblioTech)

E-reader growth skyrocketed between 2011 and 2012, but are we ready for libraries with material solely in the digital realm?

According to eMarketer, e-reader adoption increased by 44 per cent in 2012. It really does seem as though the format — lightweight, convenient and user friendly — is now a firm part of the literary world.

What do you think of the bookless library?

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So much so, in fact, that Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff of San Antonio, Texas, has just unveiled his plans to open the US' first-ever completely bookless public library.

Called BiblioTech, the branch in Bexar will serve as a prototype. Due to open in America's autumn, the library's success will determine BiblioTech's growth, with Wolff hoping to open branches all around the country.

But if they don't have books, what are you supposed to do there?

Well, firstly, the library will have public computers for library visitors to use — which is useful for those who have no computer or internet access at home — a place where visitors can go and study, do research, apply for jobs online or read ebooks using the computers.

In addition, the library plans to have 100 e-readers that can be loaned out to library cardholders for up to two weeks at a time.

But while Wolff believes that digital books are the way of the future, he's not attempting to supplant the traditional library model.

"It's not a replacement for the [city] library system," he told local newspaper My San Antonio. "It's an enhancement."


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