updated 05:40 pm EST, Sat January 4, 2014
Library offers 48 iMacs, iPads, other tablets for client use
Last summer, a daring reimagination of the public library -- and perhaps, a testament to Apple design philosophy -- opened in Bexar County, Texas. The Bibliotech Library, bereft of printed books, opened in an underserved county with the mission of providing digital assets to the local community at a fraction of the cost and floor space of a traditional library.
The facility, free to all Bexar County residents, gives users access to BiblioTech's digital collection including e-books, audiobooks, and software training databases. Additionally, the facility provides wireless Internet access to all patrons, computer classes, e-readers for lending and circulation, programs for children and adults and a study and meeting space similar to that of a more traditional library.
The facility cost the taxpayers and donators $2.3 million dollars, and occupies a previously vacant space in a local strip mall. A conventional library currently under construction in nearby Austin will be completed at a cost of $120 million.
Artist conception of Bibliotech interior
Through BiblioTech, residents of Bexar County will be able to access over 10,000 current titles through e-readers that they can check out to take home or read on the premises. Residents will also be able to use their own e-readers or tablets to access the collection.
BiblioTech currently has 600 e-readers, 200 pre-loaded enhanced e-readers for children, 48 computer stations, 10 laptops and 40 tablets to use on-site. Additional e-reading accommodations are made for the visually impaired. Tablets are available for check-out of materials for home consumption, and the library reports that as of yet, none have gone missing or unreturned.
The facility makes use of the 3M eBook service, which eliminates the danger of late return fees as the content is automatically deleted from the device upon expiration of the lending period. In addition to the 3M service, the library provides access to Zinio magazines, OneClick Digital content, ProQuest career and technical education, technology tutorials from Atomic Training, Mango language learning, Ancestry library edition, Project Gutenberg, LibriVox audio books, Project Muse scholarly journals, and the Digital Public Library of America.