We could soon be saying goodbye to the conventional neighborhood library, according to MySA. Talk along these lines has been going on for almost 50 years since the original Star Trek series first introduced the idea of a digital library source back in the mid-1960′s but now that vision may be coming to fruition.
Everyday around America and the world books are being replaced by desktop, laptop, ebook readers, digital phones and tablets like the iPad. There was a time if you wanted to read a certain book you had to physically get up and go to the library to find it, check it out and then return it in about 2 weeks. Now, with a few keystrokes just about any book, transcript, published scientific paper and reference material can be delivered instantly to your digital device.
The Bexar County Digital Library is the first exclusively all-digital library and is located in San Antonio, Texas. The library card has been replaced with a password and the friendly librarian is now a highly trained computer library technician, and just as friendly. This library is being closely monitored by other libraries across several States and may soon be commonplace throughout the country.
The new digital library still requires a visit to a physical location but there is a significant advantage. Just like the library of old if there is a book out there you want to read but don’t care to purchase then you can digitally “check it out” for a certain period of time to view on your own device or right there onsight. After the required time the loaned library material will simply no longer be accessible from your device unless you recheck it out for another length of time. The other advantage to still having a physical site is for those areas in which internet access is very limited due to location or economical reasons. This allows patrons to be able to access their books online at the library just as they used to do with a book.
The Bexar facility currently has over 10,000 titles in its database. They have been provided by the 3M Cloud Library. Besides the literary content, the digital database also provides for gaming and loads of reference material for academic study.
While I certainly like the idea of a digital library at my fingertips there is still something wonderful about holding a bound book in your hands and reading it as you turn those paper pages.