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First bookless public library to open in the U.S.

Posting in Technology

A book-free library is like an oxygen-free human, it can't exist. Right? At least in one Texas county that's not the case.

Bexar County, Texas is set to open the first bookless public library system in the United States. And, yes, it's an actual brick and mortar library -- or series of libraries throughout the county -- without physical books, called BiblioTech.

“If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff told The San Antonio Express.

In addition to the tech-heavy library, residents will be able to check out e-readers for two weeks, after which the device is unusable. Residents with e-readers can remotely access the library's collection. The first location is scheduled to open this summer.

"[I]t should not be seen as a replacement to the traditional library,” Judge Wolff said in a statement. “It is an enhancement to the current system to which all County residents have access. The ever changing landscape of technology means that literacy is no longer about picking up a physical book and being able to comprehend the words; technology is changing the way we read, learn and thrive as citizens of the 21st Century."

It's also a model that can be replicated in exurban and non-dense urban areas where building a complete library system is not financially feasible.

As someone who loves taking a break from screens to browse library bookshelves, I hope Wolff is right that these bookless libraries are not replacements of traditional libraries. But do you think he's right. Is the future of the library one without physical books?

Bexar set to turn the page on idea of books in libraries [San Antonio Express]

Image: Via mysanantonio.com

[h/t Discovery News]

— By on January 14, 2013, 5:45 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure