Digital Library

Picture a library without card catalogs, shelves, reading chairs, or …



Photo by Matl, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What’s left to be called a “library”?

Denizens of the digital age will assure you that it’s all still there, only now it’s electronic.

(Of course, you’ll just have to imagine the academic ambience.)


Photo by Dr. Marcus Gossler, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States’ first futuristic facility of this kind recently opened to the public in Bexar County, Texas.


Photo by Xataka, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s called the BiblioTech library, and it boasts about 10,000 free e-books, as well as audio books and e-readers. You can use your own reader, too, if you have the 3M Cloud Library app, which can be linked to your library card.

Yup, even a digital library still uses cards.

Lest you wonder if this is all just a figment of a cyber-savvy librarian’s fancy, the BiblioTech

(a play on “bibliothèque,” the French word for library)

actually does have a physical location, complete with 48 computer stations and meeting spaces (there are tables and chairs!).

Plus, patrons can still bring their kids for a real, live story time and take computer classes to catch up with the rapidly changing times.

Are you ready for a “virtual library” in your neck of the woods?

  1. Melissa says:

    It looks like the libraries of the future will look a lot like your typical Apple store…

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The convenience of e-books and handheld reading devices is reaching into places where books have never been available. Plus, because reference books outdate so quickly, electronic books can save millions of dollars in tight budgets for libraries. Research can be so much more convenient for students and people in general too.I believe there will always be traditional libraries as important public spaces, but the convenience of e-books is going to provide more information to more people in more places for free!! Bring it on!

  3. Terry Steinmetz says:

    We already have e-books within our library system. My hubby, when he is to busy to go to town to the library, checks out books and enjoys them immediately. I still like the feel of the bindings & pages.

  4. CJ Armstrong says:

    I am reminded of our visit to the home of Sir Walter Scott that my hubby, oldest brother and I were able to make on a trip to Scotland in 2000. I’ve never seen so many books! We were in awe at the library in this home and, of course, most of the books were very old and fragile. They looked a lot like the ones in the first photo here and visitors were not able to handle them. But it was sight to behold . . . as was the entire estate and the grounds! WOW!

  5. Dolly says:

    I am slow to move into this media and at this moment am purchased hard copies of my favorite books. I fear they will become obsolete. Guess I am a dying breed and love to hold and have a book on hand to read. When the digital fails I will still have my book…But I will get up to speed one day, guess I will have to.

  6. Melissa says:

    Perhaps when getting an e-reader will become more cost effective for me I’ll get one. I think lifestyle and living situation make it a great option for some but maybe not others. Why should I pay a couple hundred dollars plus $15 for most digital book files when I can get the paperback version for $10 and free paper books at the library? My internet and cell phone service is spotty and expensive at best. And most of the books I own are covered in food stains and bent out of shape, so I can only imagine what kind of abuse I would give an e-reader.

    I think I subconsciously rebel against quickly changing technology in general. I never owned an i-Pod, and when I tell people I have an old, “dumb” phone that does everything I need it to do they act shocked. For being in my 20s, I suppose I’m odd.

  7. I will never give up on real printed paper books, never! I am a bit of a book collector. I am awaiting our local public library’s big book sale with over 20,000 volumes for sale. It is one of the high points of my year. I collect old ,antique and out of print books, especially relating to nature and gardening. And I can never get enough mysteries, be they classic ones from the ” golden age” in the 20’s-40’s or newly published ones. I doubt if most of the treasured books in my library are or ever will be available on a reader. One of my first jobs was as a manager of a remote estate with a rare book library of over 40,000 volumes. I got to read and touch books that seldom are allowed to be handled by we mere mortals . I was privileged to read rare full ” elephant folios” , half folios and quarter folios. These are books so large that you need special huge tables just to open them up. It was one of the thrills of my bibliophile life. No, you can’t replace these kinds of books with an electronic reader ever!

  8. Nancy says:

    As I made my way around stacks of books in my den to my computer, I was pleased to see that even though I have been reading steadily, some more books arrived in the mail today and I added them to my stacks. Why stacks of books on the floor? Silly- my bookshelves are full! I love the feel and smell of books: old, new, borrowed, etc. I do have a Kindle, but only use it when I travel. I’m currently in 2 book discussion groups ( both of which met in libraries!) and always buy whatever books we are reading.. I love to cuddle up under a warm throw, with my 2 cats joining me, and settle in for an evening or an afternoon of quiet, reading time. My book collection is very eclectic and I love finding new authors. Of course, I usually start with book 4 in their series and then have to go back and find all of their books so I can read them all! I enjoy searching for back copies of books by authors I enjoy and hope that small bookstores and libraries remain in the future. Happy Reading to all!

    • oooh that sounds like me! My Living room is stacked with books coz you guessed it , the shelves are full. So full in fact that one bookshelf broke under the strain and weight and each shelf dove into the one below it and I came home to an avalanche of books in the middle of the floor but very neatly stacked side by side!
      Yes, like you Nancy, my idea of Heaven in the wintertime, is to curl up with a book with my 2 cats, Duke and Earl, and read all night. It would be perfection if I had a fireplace.

  9. Pat says:

    I love what Nancy has to say. I cannot even imagine a library without books! That would be like a well without water or a frig with “food pills” and no real food. What ARE they thinking? I realize the hand helds some people like for the ease of carrying in your purse but….give me a back pack full of books, a thermos of tea, cheese, bread, a tablecloth (we are ladies, still!), a light summer day, a secluded field (or even my own back yard) and you will have one happy woman………no electronics allowed!!

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