(Left) The $1 million dollar digital library at the Bexar County office, 2505 Pleasanton Road. (Right) Concept of how the library will be set up. (via Kin Man Hui, San Antonio Express, and Courtesy Illustration)
The world is becoming more digital with every day that passes. Everyone knows it, and it is looking like books may be the next thing to become wiped away by the digital tide. Inspired by Steve Jobs and University of Texas at San Antonio, Bexar County Judge, Nelson Wolff, is embarking on a project to bring a completely digital library to San Antonio. Like the university's library, it will feature a rich collection of digital titles; however, the university has kept their paperback book collection, which makes all the digital books a bonus for students.
Dubbed BiblioTech, the library is embracing for the digital age and will feature computers for internet access and other common conveniences found in local libraries. “If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an apple store,” Wolff stated. When the library first opens, there should be computers on-site for at least 50 people. Furthermore, there will be about 25 laptops and tablets for checkout not including the e-readers in which books will be checked out on. During the first few months, there will only be 100 e-readers available for public use. More will become available as the library gains popularity and support from its users. Wolff has stated he expects a few of the $100 e-readers to go missing, however speaking to the San Antonio Express he commented, “We do have your name, we do have your address. You check it out for two weeks, just like a library book. In two weeks, your e-book goes dead, so you won't have anything worth keeping.”
The first residents within the library will have access to around 10,000 books titles. According to Wolff it is going to cost around $250,000 to gain access to those titles, a small price they are willing to pay to give residents an opportunity to have a library system. However, a completely digital library is not a new idea. In a similar scenario, Tucson-Pima Public Library System in Arizona also experimented with the idea of going digital. However, after a few years they added their own collection of books due to a large request from the community. Nevertheless, that was in 2002 and this is 2013. It is possible this thing could start a new trend. Many families in the area do not have internet access and this could spark kid's interest in not only reading, but also in technology. This is just my opinion, but as much as I love technology I will always hang on to my books and I will continue to enjoy watching my collection grow.