Bibliotech: World's First Bookless Library
When you think about paying a visit to a library, you think about shelves upon shelves of books, a library catalog, and sometimes even a male or female librarian dressed in tweed and glasses so nerdy that they're the coolest fashion statements ever. What you do not expect to find is a business that is chock full of emptiness. But that's exactly what the world's newest library offers to patrons.
Bibliotech, located in San Antonio, Texas, has the perfect name. The French world for library is "bibliotheque", and the play on words used for this unique literature business imply that they are more progressive than most of their competitors. If you missed the connection, the name BiblioTECH is relevant because their inventory is truly dependent upon the electronic evolution that has taken the publishing world by storm.
Bibliotech has embraced modern technology, and exclusively features e-books in their reading inventory. While e-books have become more readily available in libraries across the country, the library also known as the Bexar County Digital Library is the first to feature e-books alone. They offer about 10,000 book titles, and allow book borrowers to browse them on rows of iMacs. They recognize that not everyone has their own e-readers or tablets to allow them to get in on the e-book trend, so they lend them out. You'd think that would encourage theft, but since the library has been operational, they claim that they haven't had an issue.
Like all libraries that have started to offer e-books, there are lending restrictions on items. While of course borrowers don't have to worry about competing for the only copy of a book, which is a major benefit, users are expected to delete their copies and avoid redistributing them.
From a business perspective, building a library from scratch to be electronic in nature is actually a whole lot cheaper. It is complicated and expensive to design a building (architecturally) that is set to become a library. The sheer weight of books sitting on their designated shelves is so great that a building has to be designed with this in mind. Any ordinary building just can't be used, which makes the setup of a traditional library pretty costly. Of course, computers with electronic books really don't take a whole lot of space, eliminating these issues and making the establishment of e-libraries more economic.
There are a number of cities across the US that have plans to introduce bookless libraries. While they are garnering a lot of support, this new business type won't be without controversy. The use and collection of traditional paper books is something that many don't want to see disappear; not when technology dominates so many other parts of our lives.
What do you think about bookless libraries?
Via: LA Times
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