Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Let’s Visit An All-Digital Library . . .


I can hear a few folks saying, “An all-digital library isn’t a real library!”.

Well, “library” comes from the Latin libraria “bookshop” and librarius “relating to books”.

So, are digital “objects” with words and stories actually books?

Mho is Yes.

Last August, I wrote the post, A Library Without Books?, with my first sentence being, “Well, not quite—all the books will be E-books :-)

That library has opened its doors, and e-readers, to the public in San Antonio, Texas, in the USA. BiblioTech-Interior

A few excerpts from an article in PublishingPerspectivesA Visit to BiblioTech: The 21st Century All-Digital Library:

“The main branch is in a low-income district about seven miles from the county courthouse in a building with a tax assessor, a constable’s office and a justice of the peace.”

“A tiny cafe sells coffee, thumb drives and headphones, while a space in the back is furnished with bright benches for patrons who bring their own devices. Those without can check out one of BiblioTech’s 10 Macbook Pros or 40 iPads by the hour for use in the library.”

Head Librarian of Bibliotech, Ashley Eklof

Head Librarian of Bibliotech, Ashley Eklof

“’We have maintained from the beginning that we are a digital library, not a bookless library’, said Ms. Eklof [Head Librarian], who, like the rest of the staff, wore a sporty BiblioTech-branded polo shirt. Books or no books, she said, the goal is the same: to give residents access to information and research assistance.

“The library is busiest after neighborhood schools let out, when it is often difficult to find a free computer, Ms. Eklof said. But on a quiet Thursday morning earlier this month, only a few patrons were using the computers, all watching YouTube videos. Reception, though, was busy, explaining the library’s protocols to a steady stream of guests.”

Two more excerpts from the article:

“Since BiblioTech opened, visitors from as far away as Hong Kong and the Netherlands have come to this out-of-the-way corner of San Antonio to take a look at the operation.”

“At a cost of $2.2 million to build, stock and staff, BiblioTech is a bargain compared with the downtown library being built in nearby Austin, which has a budget of more than $100 million. BiblioTech’s yearly operating costs are budgeted at $1.1 million. ‘Getting it going cost us a third less than the $3.7 million Bexar County contributes annually to the San Antonio public library system, which has 26 libraries’, Ms. Cole said.”

So, what are your thoughts about an all-digital library?

You can register your opinion in this Survey

Just a few more facts from that article:

* Ebook management services and e-readers for BiblioTech are provided by 3M. The library owns about 85% of their titles, says head librarian Eklof.

* The replacement period for the computer, e-readers and other technology is a period of three years.

* A private donation from the San Antonio Spurs NBA franchise supported the creation of the children’s section of the library.

* The staff of BilioTech is 15, with 3 full-time and 12 part-timers; most appear to be recent college graduates under the age of 25.

Do, please, visit the article at PublishingPerspectives for more information
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