I read in a recent issue of Time magazine (October 7, “Smoked Stacks”) that “in 2002, Arizona’s Tucson-Pima Public Library system opened a branch without books, the first in the U.S. to attempt an all-digital existence. But just a few years later, the library phased in printed materials. Patrons demanded them.”
“I don’t think people could really envision a library without any books in it,” says Susan Husband, the Santa Rosa Branch manager.
My, how times have changed! San Antonio’s new Bexar County Digital Library is now touted as the nation’s only all-digital public library.
“The $2.4 million, 4,000-sq.-ft. space, also known as BiblioTech, opened September 14 and has been likened to an orange-hued Apple Store. Stocked with 10,000 e-books, 500 e-readers, 48 computers and 20 iPads and laptops, the digital library includes a children’s area, community rooms and a Starbucksesque cafe to encourage collaboration among patrons in an inviting space. And it will have zero print materials.”
Go ahead, call me old-fashioned—I just don’t like the idea of a library without books.
According to the Time article, “The library is no longer the place where you walk in and the thing you pay the most attention to is the book collection,” says American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan. “It’s now a place where you’re immediately attuned to the variety of ways that people are making use of that space.”
Yikes! Libraries with0ut books? That’s like Superman without his cape, a lemonade stand without anything to drink, a gym without weights, or politics without scandals.
It just won’t be the same. Luckily, DCPL still has both physical and non-physical books. If you’re after non-physical books, you can download some through the library’s free OverDrive eBooks and downloadable audiobooks service.