Posted on 2013-Feb-20
You might wonder where on earth the irony of the title of this post comes from. If you are an avid reader-cum-technophile, you will not be surprised to learn how the term was originally rooted not so long ago. But if you are the frequent patron of the library, you can be taken aback by the waves of the digital revolution that will free up your shelf space. To give you a clearer picture, imagine you walk into a public library that offers no print books. You can be lost in the building gazing pointlessly at the emptiness of materials to learn, research, or entertain as expected. In practice, the nonexistence of physical books will be rigorously substituted by the abundance of wireless data that limitlessly caters your hunger for knowledge and passionate reading.
Bibliotech: Bookless Project Dream Comes True
The bookless concept originates with a book lover’s private collection. Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Judge, sees how digital books are coming to replace its print predecessor. His dream is to have a countywide library system exclude print books due to the prediction that readers will want them less.
Bibliotech is the given name of the first bookless library to be open later this year. Wolff said coyly about the establishment that would be an enhancement for the public library system instead of a replacement. According to the website, the University of Texas at San Antonio has tried it before offering downloadable books together with print ones.
Although Bibliotech is not the first library to go sans books, Wolff makes a bold statement about his library project to be “designed for, not adapted to, the digital age.” Taking a walk down the memory lane, Tucson-Pima Public Library System in Arizona tried to make bookless dreams possible but it did not survive the public dissatisfaction. Back in 2002, the root of the problem was that most people did not have access to computers and the bookless library ended up adding print books in their system. Newport Beach Library in California also made an attempt in 2011 but gave up the project due to book lovers’ uproar. However, University of Texas at San Antonio tells a completely different story when student fully embrace the technology.
Still, there are challenges ahead awaiting Wolff’s decision. $250,000 will be required to foot the bill in order to acquire 10,000 books. Unlike the past when people complained that they did not have enough libraries, residents might not be willing to invest their money on eReaders in today’s current economic climate. According to the Wall Street Journal, the supply of 150 eReaders coupling with 25 laptops, 25 tablets, and 50 stationed PCs tends to fill that gap for avid readers to gain access to their favorite books as feasibly as possible.
The Guardian sees the trouble in operating a bookless library yet remains open to preserve appropriate space for people to read books. Facilities inside will motivate readers to “work, think, and connect” in the environment of “well-lit and well-connected desk and comfortable chairs.” Seen in this way, a library is built for everyone to gain access to knowledge and information.
Despite being touted as the place to offer knowledge and information, Surrey County Council library takes eBooks somewhere else. The library was famous for being an indicator of what the local readers were chasing after. The term “guilty pleasure” is smoothly applied in this sense to the extent that borrowers enjoy their anonymous identity to pursue erotica. The Telegraph reveals how 50 Shades of Grey stirred their imagination so significantly. Last year, India Grey’s At the Argentinean Billionaire’s Bidding, Kate Walker’s Bedded by The Greek Billionaire, and Barbara Dunlop’s Beauty and The Billionaire occupied the list consecutively in their own rights.
Not a Dead Space
While the majority of readers might sit cozily leafing through pages of their favorite read at home, it is apparent that the library is not yet considered a dead space. Avid readers stand a chance to stay sociable while looking for the massive digital catalogue. The sweet irony of libraries going bookless seems to chime perfectly in the approaching digital age that people can read virtually seamlessly. The sooner libraries adapt to the flexible infrastructure of eBook technology, the more capable they can court new readers who enjoy celebrating guilty pleasure at their disposal into using their additional services.
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