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San Antonio launching 'bookless' BiblioTech library in fall, places its eggs in digital basket

Jason Hidalgo, @JasonHidalgo
January 14, 2013
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Hardbound books, apparently, are soooo 20th century -- at least for the upcoming BiblioTech library in San Antonio, Texas' south side. When the shiny, new public library opens its doors to bookworms this fall, visitors will notice something important missing: actual books. Instead, the facility will be serving up ebooks -- about 10,000 digital titles or so -- in an attempt to supplement the area's traditional library system with some new-school cool. To help users partake in its content, BiblioTech will also carry actual e-readers for users to check out. Footage of the media event shows what appears to be a Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch as the facility's e-reader of choice. Checked-out ebooks are also programmed to be accessible by the borrower for a two-week period. Going the digital route has certainly been a growing trend -- 3M recently launched a Cloud Library lending service while one Austrian town kicked off its own unique e-book repository based on stickers equipped with QR codes and NFC chips. As ongoing issues involving Penguin show, however, digital lending sadly still has some hurdles to overcome.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Bexar County says that the Nook featured in the event was just a prop and not the e-reader of choice for the project. A request for proposals is now before the Commissioners Court and is awaiting approval on Jan. 15. The project will be going through a public bidding process to procure its e-readers.

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