Monday, January 21, 2013

a computer-only public library

The First Bookless Public Library: Texas to Have BiblioTech
(Jan. 14, 2013  ABC News)

The tech-geek part of me thinks it sounds cool, but the book-nerd part feels some trepidation. This is not due to the concept in and of itself, but because we live in a polarized, extremist culture. We have trouble wrapping our minds around two good options existing side by side. We tend to think that if there are two of anything, one must be better, and if one is better, the other is downright bad, and the bad one should be gotten rid of entirely.

Apparently this is to be a new, specialized branch of the San Antonio system, which already has 26 branches. Viewed this way, rather than as the first step into an inevitable printless future, it need not be a threat to beloved tomes with paper pages, any more than the opening of a rare book library would threaten the ability of patrons to continue to get their bestsellers at other branches. So let the past make way for the future -- not by leaving, but by inviting the future to stand beside it.

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