The smell of old paper. The rough texture as you're turning the pages. The rips, creases, and folds inside the books. All of these may soon be things of the past if the concept of the new library in San Antonio, Texas takes hold in the world.
BiblioTech is the first library that is 100% digital. The building, which according to MyFoxNY cost only $2.3 million dollars, houses not a single book. Instead, it uses computers, tablets, and e-readers to get patrons of Bexar county the information they need. The library's layout is based on an Apple Store: librarians wear matching shirts and hoodies; rows of iMacs fill the area; iPads line the bar; and e-readers wait to be checked out. Although the digital versions of the books still cost the library roughly the same amount of money, they were able to cut most of the building costs by not having to have as large of an area and not having to worry about reinforcing the floors to support the extra weight. By way of comparison, Austin, Texas is building a new library with a pricetag of $120 million, and it's not expected to open until 2016.
Users are free to use any of the computer equipment they want in the building, although there can often be a line for the computers. They can also check out e-reader with up to five books at a time. Although there was initially fear of theft, BiblioTech reports that not a single e-reader has been lost or stolen yet. They expect 100,000 patrons by the end of the year, and the concept has brought people from as far away as Hong Kong to see if the idea is worth replicating in other locations.
If this trend continues, will you be sad to see the demise of paper books? Or is the convenience of an e-ink device (or traditional tablet) the natural progression of the written word?
Source: MyFoxNY | Image courtesy of MyFoxNY