First All-Digital Public Library in U.S. to Open in One Week

BiblioTech, America’s first all-digital public library, will open exactly one week from today (September 14th, 2013) in Bexar County (San Antonio, Texas). The county’s 1.7 million residents will have access to more than 10,000 ebook titles in English and Spanish from the 3M Cloud Library. These e-books, as well as the library’s available audio books from One-Click digital, are accessible at the library’s physical location or at home via computer or mobile device. The library does not carry physical books. Other resources include access to 500 e-readers, 50 computer stations, 25 laptops and 25 tablets at the library’s physical location. The available reference database will be TexShare from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

In case you were worried that this innovation makes librarians obsolete, there will still be librarians on-staff at the library’s physical location, but one wonders whether or not they will function more like IT professionals, or how influential they will be to patrons who only use BiblioTech’s online services.

Most of the pre-launch criticism has been aimed at BiblioTech’s website, which the LibraryJournal describes as opaque and difficult to navigate.

“We also hope BiblioTech does better discovering and organizing high-quality open web resources that are often free to access and use,” writes Gary Price for the Library Journal.

BiblioTech is currently planing a launch party to begin at 10 AM on the 14th. Bexar residents can register for a BiblioTech library card at the library’s website.




Filed under Libraries

4 responses to “First All-Digital Public Library in U.S. to Open in One Week

  1. If digital libraries continue to populate, a librarian’s role will likely require the change to an IT role. Computer scientists and engineers are the ones, which make information accessible to the public using search algorithms, interface design, and social media platforms. Librarians will follow their lead, not the other way around.

    • I work for a library system. We had a discussion about this when they were first building this e-library. There might be less use for circulation librarians but the research librarians will still be needed. People still ask us for help in finding sources for their papers and hunting down newspaper articles from 1995. They still need us to coordinate rooms for Home Owner Association meetings and point out which databases are the best to fix their car troubles. Yes, I do have to help patrons with computer issues . . . a lot of those questions do not take an IT expert, scientist or engineers to tell them how to burn a YouTube video onto a USB or that they need to select the right printer in order to print. I’ll be interested in seeing if this experimental e-library survives and if it is the first of many. But you are right, the role of the librarian is changing and probably for the better.

  2. Pingback: BiblioTech Digital Library Opens this Week

  3. Pingback: Library of Congress Attempts to Adapt to the Digital User | publishingbycohort9

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