In a previous post, we discussed the idea held by some that
paperless cookbooks could become a thing of the past in the years to come, and
we frequently run across articles that predict the end of the paper newspaper
and magazine industry. But would it be possible for libraries to one day be
free of paper, too?
In Bexar County, Texas, the future may arrive more quickly than you think. Local judge Nelson Wolff has presented a proposal for what would be the country's first paperless public library.
Home to more than 1.7 million people, Bexar County does not currently have its own library system, and instead pays more than $3 million annually for its residents to have free access to the libraries in nearby San Antonio. Wolff's proposal eliminates this program by starting a library within the county that would offer around 10,000 e-books to residents.
Called Biblio Tech, this paperless library would make titles available for reading on-site or downloading to read at home on tablet computers and e-reader devices. In addition, the paperless library would have rental e-readers available for people to borrow for home use.
The idea for the paperless library has been implemented for special collections at some college campuses, such as at the Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons at Loyola University Chicago. Still, some feel that public libraries are less conducive to a paperless system, stating that there is a simple pleasure in borrowing a paper book that an e-book just can't duplicate, especially for children, who are often the biggest beneficiaries of public library systems.
What do you think of the idea of paperless public libraries? Would you use one? Would you prefer it to your current public library? Let us know in the Comments section!