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A Library Without Books

Joanna Demkiewicz

Bexar County in San Antonio will open a new library this fall. The concept: No books; all digital. The library will contain 100 e-readers for checkout, 50 computers, 25 laptops and 25 tablets for people to read on-site. Browsing through this library will feel like browsing through an Apple store, says Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. His goal is to bring technology to lower-income communities: "The library is a chance to expand the scope of opportunities for people to learn technology."

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  • Robt.

    This concept, its realization, its origin, its purpose and agendae seems potentially distrustworthy on so many levels. If it is intended to actually offer technological familiarization, training, and resources to an underserved community, it might be laudable, but "...'Browsing through this library will feel like browsing through an Apple store,' says Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff" raises some intuitive red flags; shilling this "Bibliotech" through a reference to browsing the latest commercial whizz-bangery of an Apple Store makes me wonder who or what might be profiting materially----especially with Texas' woeful record of using "education reform" as a means of of allowing corporations to raid the public coffers and pick the of the pockets the citizenry, touting panaceas and miracles (vis-a-vis "the Brazosport miracle", the shell game constructed with the connivance of Ron Paige that eventually led to NCLB and a wrongheaded politicization of "the Education Crisis" that is still damaging public education across the nation.

    Whose formats and platforms are being used, and what products are being pushed, I wonder.

    Who's behind the curtain?

    • Joanna Demkiewicz

      Thank you for commenting on this post and introducing me to some concerns I did not consider when I stumbled across this article and decided to inject it into the GOOD community. I honestly feel very unsettled by this idea of a bookless library; I found the article worthwhile to post because I thought it might inspire conversations. I feel unsettled by "a library without books" for different reasons than you, though. My reasons are based on a personal suspicion of society's reliability on technological communication; I personally feel more productive when I communicate through direct and tangible lines. For example -- I prefer a meaningful conversation face to face versus many shallow conversations via typewritten responses. But of course I understand this is the way the world has been/is changing.

      I greatly anticipate the opening of this library and society's response. Will more open across the U.S.? Will "underserved" communities be served by familiarizing themselves with technology in a way they have not been invited to do in the past, and will this new familiarization change these communities? Or will commercialization ultimately overshadow? Thank you for your questions, because they are now my questions, too.