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Are Digital Libraries the Wave of the Future?

The first bookless library is now open in Texas.

This article was written by Liliana De Jesus.

A book-less library may sound like an oxymoron, but it is none-the-less real, thanks to the BiblioTech Bexar County Digital Library.

Having opened on Sept. 14, the library has 10,000 eBooks and audio books available to residents of Bexar County, Texas, according to NPR.

Books are available to download via the 3M Cloud Library app as well as through the use of the library’s 600 eReaders, 10 laptops, 40 iPads and 48 computer stations, according to reports by NPR and Digital Trends.

Members of the library will still need to ‘check-out’ books for a period of 14 days with their library cards, which can be used with the app.

According to the BiblioTech’s press release, the library has been granted access through a state program to “700 public and academic libraries throughout the state - that includes access to 51 electronic full-text databases.”

While the appeal of never having to worry about the book you want being checked out or even having to make a trip to the library itself to borrow or return a book is apparent, it is hard to imagine a whole library without any physical books at all.

The ability to hold a book in your hand and flip through the pages is lost in a world of book downloads and screens. The experience of walking from bookshelf to bookshelf to shop around for your next read is something that young library-goers will forfeit in this new digital era of libraries.

With screen-time being a concern for many parents, opting to pick a book instead will prove to be confusing for the child who cannot reconcile the difference of screen-time by way of a game and screen-time as it pertains to reading.

Convenience and digital advancement should not always give way to tradition. Imagining libraries across the country completely void of books is a pretty scary concept, even if it means having what you want at your fingertips at a moment’s notice.

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