First all-digital library in the U.S. will look like an Apple Store

By on January 14, 2013, 3:30 PM

A library in Bexar County, Texas will soon be the first in the country to open without a single physical book. The fully digital public library system will be called BiblioTech and is being led by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff who got the idea for an all-digital library while reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Given Wolff’s source of inspiration, it should come as little surprise that it will be modeled after an Apple Store. The first location will open in the fall of 2013 on the south side of the county but ultimately there will be several locations. The new library won’t replace the county’s existing library system but rather will serve to complement it, Wolff said.

Officials in charge of the program plan to use buildings already owned by the county rather than constructing new facilities or leasing other structures in an effort to save money. The judge believes it will cost roughly $250,000 to get the pilot store off the ground with a catalog of around 10,000 titles.

The Verge points out that academic libraries have been adopting digital systems for several years now but public libraries have fallen behind in the transition. This is due to the fact that the public libraries have to depend on public funding which simply hasn’t been lucrative enough to pay for the digital conversion.

This isn’t the first time that a city has announced plans to open an all-digital library but thus far, each announcement has been followed by a subsequent cancelation. Any bets on whether or not Bexar County will make good on their promise?

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