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As e-readers and tablets have gained popularity, libraries have shifted focus in order to accommodate patron demand for electronic books. According to the American Library Association, more than 76 percent of U.S. libraries offer e-books for checkout.
In fact, Bexar County, Texas, plans to launch what’s thought to be the first bookless public library. The county will spend $250,000 on its first 10,000 electronic titles and have 100 e-readers to loan through its BiblioTech website and facility, according to an article from PCWorld:
BiblioTech's first branch is scheduled to open in the fall in an existing county-owned building on the south side of San Antonio. "If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store," the moving force behind the scheme, Judge Nelson Wolff, told the San Antonio Express-News.
Read All-digital library is planned for Texas community on PCWorld.
At the same time, the challenging economy has driven demand for more digital library services, such as computing and broadband, notes a Pew Charitable Trusts report. Organizations such as the Indianapolis–Marion County Public Library deployed more than 300 workstations. And to save space, New York’s Roosevelt Public Library deployed all-in-one computers for patron use.
It’s not just computers and e-readers that are available. In the Cleveland Public Library, an area called the TechToyBox displays a collection of gadgets, such as tablets, cameras and GPS devices available for loan. Elsewhere in the library, there’s a maker space, complete with a 3D printer. For more details, see Libraries Use Tablets, QR Codes and RFID to Bridge the Digital Divide.