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Texas County Builds $1.5 Million Dollar Library–With No Books

Bexar County, Texas has built a library. Yay! The problem? It’s set to become the first ever all-digital library. It will only offer books you can read on a Kindle or other book-reading gadget. What?

The library cost $1.5 million and will start out with 100 e-readers and hold 10,000 digital titles that will be available to library members on their home computers and e-readers.  So while it won’t be a “book-less” library, it will only hold digital titles and be the first “paperless” library.
Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think it should be called a library without letting patrons check out books.  Not e-books, but BOOKS.  Does anyone not appreciate the smell of the library anymore?  (And by that I mean the books, not the library patrons.  There’s a big difference there.)  And how in the world would a library with 100 e-readers and 10,000 e-books cost $1.5 million to build?  Especially since the copyright on the classics have expired and all of those can be downloaded for free?

The reasoning behind the library’s switch to e-books comes from coordinator Laura Cole. She said it is the key to bringing books to low-income areas of the county that currently do not have access to libraries.  Many areas of Bexar County have never had a public library or even a bookstore, so Cole thinks the benefits will be substantial.

What do you think?  Should more communities look toward the future and offer books in a digital format rather than on paper?  Or should we be worried that traditions such as picking up a book–with real paper pages–are going to become extinct?




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