To look at it, BiblioTech looks more like an internet café or computer lab than a library, so you might be surprised to learn that there are over 10,000 books available to peruse. The only catch? Every single one of them is an e-book or audiobook.
BiblioTech opened its doors in San Antonio, Texas on September 14th, offering a technological lifeline to the struggling, low-income households which make up the neighborhood. At a time when 80% of US residents have access to internet on demand, a staggering 40% of households surrounding the digital library have no computer, whilst 50% lack any broadband access.
BiblioTech’s collection of e-books is all stored in the cloud, so it is not even necessary to visit the location to browse the library collection, but a staff presence is still maintained to help users. Other than the conspicuous lack of physical books though, staff say that BiblioTech is still very much like a traditional library in its importance as a community space.
The idea behind the e-book library came from Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, a book lover who felt that libraries were failing to keep up with technology. The digital library is aimed at helping an underprivileged neighborhood in a truly modern way.