BiblioTech (Bexar County)

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BiblioTech is the first and only all-digital public library in the United States. The first branch opened in the fall of 2013 and serves Bexar County, Texas.[1] BiblioTech's second branch, the Dr. Richard Romo BiblioTech, opened in July of 2015 on the west side of San Antonio and also serves the residents of Bexar County. [2] A third branch will open in 2017. [3]

Offerings[edit]

The library lends e-readers and digital content rather than physical media.[4][5] BiblioTech lends e-readers to those with a BiblioTech card; about half of the e-readers are on loan at any given time.[1] 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).[1]

BiblioTech also offers online databases and educational resources,[6] a monthly enewsletter (BiblioTech In Motion[7]), Story Time,[8] and a book club which can participants can attend live (either in person or online via Google+ Hangout video chat), or view online (via a live feed or later on YouTube[9] or the library's Google+ profile[10]).[11] Additionally, onsite, patrons can visit the circulation desk as well as make use of the library's 48 iMacs, dozen iPads, two Xbox 360s with Kinect, and many touch-screen video tablets with interactive Kaplan Early Learning Company educational games.[12]

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.[13][14][15]

Title Producer Access
cloudLibrary Bibliotheca Library card
92Y
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
Duolingo
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
Lynda.com from LinkedIn[16] Library card
Mango Creative Empire, LLC[17] 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

Cost, location, and demographics[edit]

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

Comparison to traditional libraries[edit]

All-digital libraries have existed on college campuses for years, but this is the first all-digital public library.[1] 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.[1] 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.[1] The volumes they offer cost about the same as the physical books.[1]

Some readers prefer nondigital libraries. For critic Jeff Jacoby the all-digital library model of BiblioTech 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.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ http://www.utsa.edu/today/2015/07/bibliotech2.html
  3. ^ http://tpr.org/post/bexar-county-approves-lease-agreement-third-bibliotech
  4. ^ Stern, Joanna (January 14, 2013). "The First Bookless Public Library: Texas to Have BiblioTech". ABC News. 
  5. ^ Hidalgo, Jason (January 14, 2013). "San Antonio launching 'bookless' BiblioTech library in fall, places its eggs in digital basket". Engadget.com. 
  6. ^ "Resources". BiblioTech.org. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ "BiblioTech's monthly newsletter". BiblioTech In Motion. 
  8. ^ "Story Time". BiblioTech's YouTube Account. 
  9. ^ "BiblioTech's Book Club". BiblioTech's YouTube Account. 
  10. ^ "BiblioTech's Google+ Profile". Google+. Archived from the original on 2014-10-03. 
  11. ^ "About & Join". BiblioTech Book Club. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ Nawotkajan, Edward (January 18, 2014). "It's Here: A Library With Nary a Book". New York Times. 
  13. ^ "Databases". Bexar County, Texas: BiblioTech. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  14. ^ "How it Works". Bexar County, Texas: BiblioTech. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Resources". Bexar County, Texas: BiblioTech. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Lynda.com". LinkedIn. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Terms and Conditions". Farmington Hills, MI: Mango Languages. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ Jeff Jacoby (June 17, 2015), "Life without libraries would be unimaginably poorer", Boston Globe 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°20′39″N 98°30′18″W / 29.3442°N 98.5049°W / 29.3442; -98.5049