BiblioTech (Bexar County)

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BiblioTech Bexar County Digital Library - Exterior.jpg
BiblioTech South
CountryUnited States
TypePublic library, bookless library
EstablishedSeptember 14, 2013 (2013-09-14)
LocationBexar County, Texas
Coordinates29°20′39″N 98°30′18″W / 29.3442°N 98.5049°W / 29.3442; -98.5049Coordinates: 29°20′39″N 98°30′18″W / 29.3442°N 98.5049°W / 29.3442; -98.5049
Other information
DirectorLaura Cole

BiblioTech is the first and only all-digital public library in the United States. It serves residents of Bexar County, Texas. There are three BiblioTech branches and one satellite branch.


The first BiblioTech location opened on September 14, 2013.[1][2] The County-operated library cost $2.3 million (USD) and is located on the underserved south side of San Antonio.[2] San Antonio is the second largest city in Texas and the seventh largest city in the U.S., but ranks 60th in literacy.[2] The library had over 400,000 visitors in its first four years.[2]

BiblioTech's second branch, the Dr. Richard Romo BiblioTech, opened in July 2015 on the west side of San Antonio; it also serves the residents of Bexar County.[3] A third branch, on the city's east side, opened in April 2018.[4]


The library lends e-readers and digital content rather than physical media.[5][6] BiblioTech lends e-readers to those with a BiblioTech card; about half of the e-readers are on loan at any given time.[2] Each e-reader can hold up to five books. Members with a library card can also download the cloudLibrary app to read eBooks from their personal device (iOS, Android, Windows).[2]

BiblioTech also offers online databases and educational resources,[7] programming,[8] and many touch-screen video tablets with interactive Kaplan Early Learning Company educational games.[9]

List of databases[edit]

The library arranges for its patrons access to digital content from several providers. Some resources are free of charge to the library, and some require paid subscriptions.[10][11][12]

Title Producer Access
3M Cloud Library 3M Library card
AR BookFinder
Atomic Training Library card
CK-12 CK-12 Foundation
Class Central
ComicsPlus Library card
Coursera Coursera, Inc.
Digital Public Library of America Digital Public Library of America
Directory of Open Access Journals
ERIC U.S. Department of Education
Heritage Quest Cambridge Information Group Library card
Hoopla Midwest Tape LLC Library card
Khan Academy
Learning Express Library LearningExpress, LLC Library card
LibriVox LibriVox from LinkedIn[13] Library card
Mango Creative Empire, LLC[14] Library card
Medline Plus
Merriam-Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
NewsBank NewsBank, Inc. Library card
Newspaper Archive Heritage Microfilm, Inc. Library card
Project Gutenberg Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
ProQuest Cambridge Information Group Library card
Purdue OWL Purdue University
SIRS Cambridge Information Group Library card
TEDtalks Sapling Foundation
TexShare Database Collection Library card
UTSA Digital Collections University of Texas at San Antonio
Zinio Gilvest Library card

Comparison to traditional libraries[edit]

All-digital libraries have existed on college campuses for years, but this is the first all-digital public library.[2] Head librarian Ashley Eklof says that in her former librarian job at a traditional library, items would get misplaced, vandalized, and go missing altogether, but she hasn't had any problems with e-readers disappearing.[2] The county also saved millions on some expenses, the architecture, and furniture required to store books, as well as the infrastructure to bear the weight of the books.[2] The volumes they offer cost about the same as the physical books.[2]

Some readers prefer nondigital libraries. For critic Jeff Jacoby BiblioTech's all-digital library model lacks sensory enticements (such as shelves of books) that he believes foster serendipity in information discovery. He also notes the efficiency of printed books and appropriate delivery systems (such as Biblioburro) in some nonurban locales.[15]


  1. ^ "About Us".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Weber, Paul J. (January 3, 2014). "Nation's first bookless library opens in San Antonio". Dallas Morning News.
  3. ^ Langford, Mark (July 25, 2015). "Bexar County dedicates Westside Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech". University of Texas at San Antonio. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  4. ^ Sullivan, Jeffrey (April 19, 2018). "Bexar County Opens Eastside BiblioTech Location". The Rivard Report. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  5. ^ Stern, Joanna (January 14, 2013). "The First Bookless Public Library: Texas to Have BiblioTech". ABC News.
  6. ^ Hidalgo, Jason (January 14, 2013). "San Antonio launching 'bookless' BiblioTech library in fall, places its eggs in digital basket".
  7. ^ "Resources". Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  8. ^ "Calendar". Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  9. ^ Nawotkajan, Edward (January 18, 2014). "It's Here: A Library With Nary a Book". New York Times.
  10. ^ "Databases". Bexar County, Texas: BiblioTech. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  11. ^ "How it Works". Bexar County, Texas: BiblioTech. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  12. ^ "Resources". Bexar County, Texas: BiblioTech. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  13. ^ "". LinkedIn. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  14. ^ "Terms and Conditions". Farmington Hills, MI: Mango Languages. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  15. ^ Jacoby, Jeff (June 17, 2015). "Life without libraries would be unimaginably poorer". Boston Globe.

External links[edit]