America's first bookless library
to open in Texas


Bookless library in Texas

News: America's first fully digital public library without a single book is set to open this autumn in San Antonio, Texas, and will be based on the design of an Apple store.

BiblioTech is being touted as America's first bookless public library system, with the prototype site in San Antonio hoping to offer 150 e-readers, 50 computer stations, 25 laptops and 25 tablets to local readers.

Bookless library in Texas

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he was inspired to pursue the project after reading a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs. "If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store," he told a local newspaper.

Describing himself as an avid reader with a collection of 1000 first editions, he explained that the bookless library is a timely response to the rise of tablets and e-books. "Books are important to me," he said. "But the world is changing and this is the best, most effective way to bring services to our community."

Bookless library in Texas

"You will be able to check out a book, read it on-site. It will be a learning environment – you'll be able to learn about technology itself as well as access a tremendous amount of information," he added.

Library users will be able to read books on any of the devices in the library, take out an e-reader for a short period of time, or even load books onto their own e-reader.

Bookless library in Texas

Last month we reported on Foster + Partners' plans to overhaul New York Public Library by inserting a contemporary lending library into unused reading rooms.

We've featured lots of libraries on Dezeen, including a library in Italy surrounded by a shallow pool of water and another in France with a knobbly concrete facade.

See all our stories about libraries »

Images are courtesy of Bexar County, Texas
Top image of e-reader from Shutterstock

  • Damian

    Looks more like an internet cafe around the millenium than an Apple store.

  • Jordan Squires

    Please don't. Just because you can read a book on a screen does not mean it's sexy.

  • Dariusz

    Absolutely tasteless; ugly. No natural light, just a big-box kitsch. I guess the space and feeling of a great reading room has disappeared. I don’t get it. I love books, the community a library brings together, places to sit on the floor, places to sit by the window, a comfy sofa-chair. Please get some advice from some architects that actually have designed libraries, etc.

  • Having a physical place to read digital books makes no sense to me.

    • Paul O' Brien

      What do you want? A digital space?

  • calle wirsch

    This building is not worthy of action, even felt this design error had lost its way.

  • Julius Jääskeläinen

    Brilliant, but why not lose the building and use the money instead for free readers for everyone?

  • bonsaiman

    I did not know McDonald's were into the ebook business.

  • mconahan

    Texas has a library where you are required to burn energy to read the books? I never expected that.

  • dingle

    Sometimes I wish Sketchup wasn't invented.

  • iag

    I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I know I just love sitting in a long line back to back on a stool when I’m reading a good “book”.

  • mobilephile

    The entire user/library experience is lost in this design, not a compelling future at all.

  • As an ebook does not need paper to be made, an e-library does not need walls to be built. An e-library would make more sense on the web, where everyone can login and search for books on his own sofa. Like it or not, this is how e-stuff works.

  • Anders

    I dont mind the idea of a bookless library, but then it should contain the other qualities a library offers. Libraries are the last straw of a real social democracy, a place where people can meet and exchange ideas independent of economic ability and without commercial interests. They have been vital for social education and still could be. They have the potential to be a great centre point for both social and intellectual interaction in a community. This though is little more than an internet café that happens to have books. Very uninviting and not a pleasant environment for submerging into literature, digital or not. I would never be able to concentrate in such a place. I bet there are plenty of architects that would love to embrace the idea of a true bookless library, please get one.