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.