Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A Bookless Library

Artist's rendering of the no-book library. From ABC News

First bookless library to open in Texas.

BiblioTech, the first bookless public library is due to open this autumn. The institution will have 100 e-readers available for circulation (apparently theft is not an issue - at the end of the two week loan period the reader will run out of power and be more or less useless), they will have e-readers available for children on site, as well as 50 computer terminals, 25 laptops and 25 tablets. BiblioTech will start with a collection of 10,000 titles intending to add more as time goes on. Library users who have their own e-reader will also be able to borrow books without visiting the library through the online catalogue and a pin number. Thankfully, this new initiative will not replace a traditional library, it will be an additional service for the citizens of Bexar Country, Texas.


I'm not sure if we need to redefine the library of the 21st century, or if we should coin new terms to describe such initiatives as BiblioTech. For most people, I think, the base meaning of the word library is: a room filled with books. Libraries often have periodicals, archives, DVDs, and computing and printing services attached but these are often seen as extra services.

 Maybe we should name libraries like BiblioTech, information lending libraries, or ILL for short, which happens to be how I feel about the concept.

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