Opening yesterday in San Antonio, Texas, the Bexar County digital library called BiblioTech is the first library in the United States that only provides digital copies of books to patrons rather than stocking paper copies as well. Using a store design that’s a combination of a trendy Internet cafe and an Apple store, the public is free to browse the catalog of e-books on one of the large touchscreen tables and download a copy onto their personal e-reader like an Amazon Kindle. In addition, any resident of Bexar County can check out one of the 600 e-readers on hand and take it home to read books checked out at the library.
Regarding other technology within the location, the all-digital library is stocked 48 iMac computer stations, 10 Macbook laptops and 40 iPads for use within the library. The library plans to hold special events like computer learning classes in order to educate the public on e-readers and other new technology.
The library is also attempting to cater to children in the area with 200 additional e-readers formatted with special kid’s content as well as a regular story time hour and a Xbox 360 gaming system hooked up to a large HDTV.
In order to check out books from BiblioTech, Bexar County residents can access the digital catalog online on their mobile device after downloading the 3M Cloud Library app. That mobile app allows the resident to link their library card to the BiblioTech system. After selecting an available book to check out through the application, that book will be listed in the “My Books” section of the app along with a countdown of how many days the book is accessible. At launch, BiblioTech is making 10,000 titles available to the public in digital e-book form and those books can be checked out for two weeks at a time.