On September 14, 2013 Bexar County celebrated the grand opening of the nation’s first wholly digital public library, BibioTech. BiblioTech is more than just an internet café. The digital library is a full public branch in Bexar County, with all the associated amenities such as spaces which can be reserved (by the public) for meetings or study sessions, as well as others made available for reading to children—only, the library features no physical books. The facility is unprecedented in this manner and, as a result, has become a vanguard program garnering national attention as a possible solution to a dire need for Americans, in a time when public coffers are depleted. A pole from April 24, 2013 shows that 62% of Libraries report that they are sole source of free internet and computer access in their communities. While to some this number might seem exaggerated, consider what another writer claims which brings the concept closer to home. According to an article from September 9, 2013 the BiblioTech system was built specifically in an area of south San Antonio where 75% of residents have no access to the internet. In lieu of physical books, Patrons at the digital library (3505 Pleasanton Road) have access to approximately 10,000 e-books and inventory of compatible technological platforms. E-readers are available for check-out. On site, visitors have access to laptop and desktop computers, as well as tablets. The facility also offers free internet service and the aforementioned available spaces.
For citizens of Bexar County and residents of the Greater San Antonio area, there is a lot to be optimistic about when considering BiblioTech. Not only is the digital library a groundbreaking effort, but it addresses a distinct public need for library resources in San Antonio. With Bibliotech, Bexar County takes an auspicious jump forward in the inevitable paradigm shift of the public library and its role in the community, and sets a distinguished example for public policy which turns to innovation as the solution to fiscal constraints.
The official BiblioTech site can be found at: http://bexarbibliotech.org./