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First US Public Library With No Paper Books Opens In Texas 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-rifles-and-cowboy-hats dept.
cold fjord writes "Bexar Country in Texas has opened a new $2.3 million library called BiblioTech. It doesn't have physical books, only computers and e-reader tablets. It is the first bookless public library system in the U.S. The library opened in an area without nearby bookstores, and is receiving considerable attention. It has drawn visitors from around the U.S. and overseas that are studying the concept for their own use. It appears that the library will have more than 100,000 visitors by year's end. Going without physical books has been cost effective from an architecture standpoint, since the building doesn't have to support the weight of books and bookshelves. A new, smaller library in a nearby town cost $1 million more than Bexar Country's new library. So far there doesn't appear to be a problem with returning checked out e-readers. A new state law in Texas defines the failure to return library books as theft."
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First US Public Library With No Paper Books Opens In Texas

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  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:04PM (#45866911) Homepage Journal

    Is it a presidential library, perchance?

  • Why bother (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jabberw0k (62554) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:09PM (#45866949) Homepage Journal
    A library without books is... pointless. Why not just build a Starbucks or a McDonalds. Or, actually, an empty room. What a waste.
    • e-books

    • Re:Why bother (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LikwidCirkel (1542097) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:21PM (#45867001)
      You're confusing medium with content. Physical books are not important in themselves - it's the content within them that's important, and that does not have to be tied to a particular medium. One can be very well-read nowadays without ever laying hands on dead trees.
      • Re:Why bother (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jabberw0k (62554) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:41PM (#45867093) Homepage Journal

        If I wanted to read the Internet, I could stay home. Print on paper is an utterly different experience. You know -- Tactile, spatial (how far into the book you are, what side of the page) -- not to mention, you can slip bookmarks into pages, photocopy them, and pass them around between several people.

        When I check half a dozen books out of the library, I read one, I pass it along to Mom while she's reading another, and to Dad, and my brother... How do you propose doing that with a bunch of e-books?

        • Why NOT bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          while paper books actually do have some advantages...most libraries do not carry multiple copies of that book. A major advantage here is that every one of their readers can have the exact same book on it at the exact same time so 12 people in 12 households can all enjoy it at the same time.

          Secondly, if you read the article, this is actually a poorer area of the city in which many households do not have internet access. So putting it all on the web would still NOT benefit them.

          Do I think there should be an o

          • Re:Why NOT bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @06:02PM (#45867167)

            while paper books actually do have some advantages...most libraries do not carry multiple copies of that book. A major advantage here is that every one of their readers can have the exact same book on it at the exact same time so 12 people in 12 households can all enjoy it at the same time.

            Except reality doesn't work that way. Those wacky rights-holders still expect to be paid for content. Whoda thunk it?

            Electronic libraries have been around for years. Other than the paper, they work pretty much the same. The library licenses the content and is allowed to lend out X copies of the titles they license. If X+8 people want to borrow the same title, the 8 go on a wait list just like they would for a paper book. And the libraries often only have partial collections. They may have 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 of a series but not books 4 and 6. Why? Heck if I know but they do. Or sometimes they'll have the entire series but only 1 copy for each book so it can take forever to get them all in the correct order because book 3 has a wait list of 40 people.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by davester666 (731373)

              don't forget about expiring books. publishers also have 'can only lend X times' terms as well. the library might pay less for the book initially, but over time it is likely they will pay more if the book is at all popular.

            • by icebike (68054)

              The other nice thing about this is that the libraries usually work through a company like Overdrive which allows them to get 8 copies of popular books, and then reduce the number of copies as demand slacks off, and move those copies to newer or more popular titles.

              That means instead of there being exactly one book in the inventory, there may be 3 or 8.

            • True, rights holders expect to be paid for their content. However, you may have noticed that an e-Book generally costs far less than a good quality library bound book. (i ignore paperback books in this case, simply because a decent library will get decently bound books, so they last a long time and do not have to be replaced)

              Now, lets get to the examples. On amazon right now, a kindle copy of the latest NY times best seller (a John Grisham novel) costs 6.49$. The hardcover version costs 14.87$ this means
          • by icebike (68054)

            while paper books actually do have some advantages...most libraries do not carry multiple copies of that book. A major advantage here is that every one of their readers can have the exact same book on it at the exact same time so 12 people in 12 households can all enjoy it at the same time.

            Well not necessarily. Libraries still have to buy ebooks. Just like regular books. They can only afford so many, and can't lend out more than that.

            Most libraries subscribe to something like Overdrive, and actual house no ebook infrastructure themselves. (Madam librarian does not usually possess the computer skilz to do handle this). Overdrive keeps track of the lending, due dates, copies out, waiting lists, total copies owned, etc).

            Really, the internet has reached 89% of US households, either via broad

          • My library has eBooks available to take out. In fact, I just took out Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. (Somehow I never managed to read it and I wanted to rectify this mistake.) I go onto their website, choose the book, take it out (via Amazon), and then load it onto my Kindle. When it is due, it automatically gets removed. (Yes, there's DRM, but this is one place where DRM is appropriate - to enforce the expiration date of the library loan.) In addition, if you live in New York State, you can join t

        • If I wanted to read the Internet, I could stay home.

          And lose access to the paywalled resources to which your library subscribes for use within its facilities.

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            > And lose access to the paywalled resources to which your library subscribes for use within its facilities.'

            Which is exactly WHAT for a municipal library?

            This isn't some college library and is likely far less interesting in any way you could mention.

            • Which is exactly WHAT for a municipal library?

              In the early 1990s, students at my middle school were required to make a speech about a controversial topic based on research. A common method for this was to use the "InfoTrac" system on the catalog terminals to select, preview, and print articles. Another was the "SirS" binders.

              • My local library (rural Alaska) has Science Citation Index, Lexus / Nexus and subscriptions to a number of 'high impact' science journals. Is it the University of Washington? Nope. But if offers some access to citizens who happen not to be adjunct professors or whatever.

                • by nbauman (624611)

                  My local library (rural Alaska) has Science Citation Index, Lexus / Nexus and subscriptions to a number of 'high impact' science journals. Is it the University of Washington? Nope. But if offers some access to citizens who happen not to be adjunct professors or whatever.

                  That's funny. I wanted to look up Science Citation Index at my local library -- the New York Public Library science and business collection. They didn't have it. They dropped it because it was too expensive.

                  One of the librarians told me that they couldn't get online editions of some of the major science journals, because the journals charged libraries according to the number of their users.

                  The New England Journal of Medicine would have charged them a fee for the online edition based on the assumption that t

            • by dasunt (249686)

              Which is exactly WHAT for a municipal library?

              At my library, it's too numerous to list them all.

              If you're looking for access to historical records, or modern journals, research, etc, you should check out your local library's digital content.

          • And lose access to the paywalled resources to which your library subscribes for use within its facilities.

            You want me to get in my car, drive across town, and walk into a particular building, to use a computer, to get to something on the Internet?

            Riiiiight.</TheCos>

            • by tepples (727027)
              If that's too inconvenient for you, perhaps you could buy an individual subscription.
        • by icebike (68054)

          If I wanted to read the Internet, I could stay home. Print on paper is an utterly different experience. You know -- Tactile, spatial (how far into the book you are, what side of the page) -- not to mention, you can slip bookmarks into pages, photocopy them, and pass them around between several people.

          When I check half a dozen books out of the library, I read one, I pass it along to Mom while she's reading another, and to Dad, and my brother... How do you propose doing that with a bunch of e-books?

          And buggy whips are a whole lot better experience than stepping on the accelerator. (except for the horse)

          Come on, waxing eloquent about past has been a tired cliche since the Pleistocene.

          Books are heavy, cumbersome to hold, impossible to operate with one hand, subject to wear and tear, and take up a whole bunch of room.

          As for the passing along of ebooks, its easy. Since you all read the same books, put all your e-readers on the same account. Done.
          I seldom take more than one book out of my library at once,

          • by nospam007 (722110) *

            "Books are heavy, cumbersome to hold, impossible to operate with one hand, subject to wear and tear, and take up a whole bunch of room."

            And these 'pages', real readers just use scrolls of animal hide, all one 1 page, much easer to read than those cut-out pages of vegetable pulp.
            Nicer to the touch too.

            My dad is old fashioned, he only reads stone tablets, but those are too fragile for me, you can't even drop them.

      • by khasim (1285)

        I'm more concerned with DRM. And the concept that you do not "own" media any more. You just "rent" it.

        A library can lend a physical book thousands of times for just the price of the book.

        Once you get into digital media, the publisher can demand a payment per check-out.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        You're confusing medium with content. Physical books are not important in themselves - it's the content within them that's important, and that does not have to be tied to a particular medium. One can be very well-read nowadays without ever laying hands on dead trees.

        e-books are also easier to scrub of offensive information like evolution. Very important in Texas.

      • by celle (906675)

        "Physical books are not important in themselves - it's the content within them that's important, and that does not have to be tied to a particular medium."

        Longevity, consistency, and usability of the medium is important. Dead trees last centuries, epads don't survive the first hard drop. Content on dead trees is permanent, content on epads can be changed at any time to suit or manipulate current events. Open a book and read, no power, range, or other limits and visual issues have been

    • by arobatino (46791)

      Exactly. If the content is available digitally, they should put up a website like Open Library [openlibrary.org] so people anywhere in the world can access it.

      • That works well for pre-1923 works but not for anything newer because publishers demand to derive revenue from patrons' use of the works. For example, a publisher might sell a 26-pack of two-week rentals [about.com] for a particular e-book to a county library, and the county library doesn't want to "waste" these rentals on people who happen not to live within the area that pays property tax to the county that funds the library.
        • by icebike (68054)

          Your link is a dated article. At least two years old. It doesn't even realize that the kindle is supported by Overdrive.

          Counties are forming partnerships with adjacent counties to expand their collections. (I can borrow for four different county libraries, and two university libraries, all via my single county library card).

          The publishers and Overdrive are coming around [publishersweekly.com], making more and more of their catalog available in ebook form. The bitchslap they got from the DOJ and the slam dunk that Google score

          • by tepples (727027)

            When HarperCollins tried to limit lending to 26 lends, Overdrive dropped the publisher from their general catelog.

            According to the article you linked, Penguin hasn't been working with OverDrive in the first place. Without Penguin and without HC, what does that leave?

            • by icebike (68054)

              According to the article you linked, Penguin hasn't been working with OverDrive in the first place. Without Penguin and without HC, what does that leave?

              Plenty. HC and Penguin do not the book world define.

              However, the article I linked to was from March, and Penguin was coming around at that time.
              They have seen the light, and as of September they are back on Overdrive. [libraryjournal.com]

              They have further to go. But they've turned their head in the right direction. The loss of sales was becoming painful.

    • Re:Why bother (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:26PM (#45867027)

      The computers at libraries such as this one seem to be quite a useful public service. Every time I go to my local public library, the computers are mostly all in use. They provide Internet access for people who can't afford it themselves, notably people who are out of a job and need to fill out a job application online, as is now commonly required.

      • Re:Why bother (Score:4, Insightful)

        by couchslug (175151) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @01:14AM (#45868839)

        What you describe is common. When I was unemployed I spoke to many folks who had to rely on the library or the PCs at the unemployment office to searcha and manage job applications as well as their unemployment insurance documentation.
        Internet access is a necessity for the unemployed.

    • Re:Why bother (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ranton (36917) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:49PM (#45867119)

      A library without books is... pointless.

      A library which focuses primarily on books is ... almost pointless.

      Libraries are there to help improve the general level of education of the nearby population. Storing and lending books were by far the most important functions of libraries when books were the primary source of information in our culture. That is not even close to true anymore. I spend over $200 per month on books at Amazon each month, so I am a heavy reader, but I still consume most information online. And I was a holdout when it came to getting an e-reader, but over half of my book reading is now done on my iPad. In fact the reason I finally bought an iPad last year is because I found myself reading books from my phone far more often than reading paper books, and I wanted a better form factor.

      Like it or not, the Internet is a better source of most information now. So libraries need to adapt to that in order to perform their function as education centers. That means more real estate for computers and less for books. With less emphasis on books libraries can also focus on more personal relationships with the community. I go to about five lectures at my local library per year and find them very interesting. I think other services like tutoring and job skill training make a lot of sense in modern libraries as well. I know my local library has many classes each season such as basic accounting, how to appeal your real estate assessment, computer training, etc. These are all far more important than renting out books IMHO.

      • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Saturday January 04, 2014 @06:44PM (#45867339) Journal

        Okay, time to bring up a new topic.

        I completely disagree that the internet is a "better source". It's a stunning *complementary source*. But books (medium, to be discussed later) are the exclusive domain of a ton of "long form content" with certain types of structure that don't really exist per se in the internet.

        The big elephant in the room I still don't see really taken seriously is ... Print On Demand.

        Clearly if someone has the digital file en masse for these kinds of e-libraries, then it's "not hard" to POD it. Then people could get their cumulative favorite 100 "tree books", but the library doesn't have to stock the massive 30,000 item collection with Long Tail problems.

        POD is here. *Five years ago* the Hardvard book store had a prototype (cover art rights issues, sure) that produced books as solid as anything done by the pros "in about an hour".

        But I'm amazed that no one is constructively talking about POD in these "future of books" discussions, even at the risk on the store side of the big chains folding. (ProTip - why would I even order from amazon if I could get my copy in my hand at lunch?)

        • by ranton (36917) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @07:19PM (#45867501)

          The big elephant in the room I still don't see really taken seriously is ... Print On Demand.

          Once you have standardized page size and other challenges inherent with POD, you might as well just be downloading an e-book. Cost may be an issue for e-readers today, but you already can get some pretty damn cheap e-readers if you are willing to buy something other than the big name brands. So if you are talking about the future of books, not just trends over the next 5-10 years, it is most likely going to be incredibly cheap color e-ink tablets that most books are read from.

          No one knows the future for sure, so perhaps POD will have its place, but I find it doubtful.

          I completely disagree that the internet is a "better source". It's a stunning *complementary source*. But books (medium, to be discussed later) are the exclusive domain of a ton of "long form content" with certain types of structure that don't really exist per se in the internet.

          I didn't mean to say that the internet is a better source for all information. My rationalle for calling it a better source was simply that it is a better source for most of the information people need. I am easily in the top 5% of physical book purchasers for personal consumption in the developed world (probably top 1%), but even I realize that most of the time I need to learn something I do not turn to books (either physical or e-books). They are for highly specialized content and for reference information that has not yet been posted online (which is more and more rare as the years go on). And for novels, if you are into that kind of thing, but those transition to e-books even better than the non-fiction books I read.

          • Cost may be an issue for e-readers today, but you already can get some pretty damn cheap e-readers if you are willing to buy something other than the big name brands.

            Even with name brands, Amazon's cheapest Kindle is $69 which is pretty affordable. That comes "with special offers" but in my experience the ads are completely unobtrusive. (They appear when the device is off - in which case you most likely have it in a carrying case - and when browsing through your book listing - which is easily ignored. No

          • We have a nice discussion going, but I think you missed both of my points.

            "Once you have standardized page size and other challenges inherent with POD, you might as well just be downloading an e-book. Cost may be an issue for e-readers today, but you already can get some pretty damn cheap e-readers if you are willing to buy something other than the big name brands. So if you are talking about the future of books, not just trends over the next 5-10 years, it is most likely going to be incredibly cheap color

          • Once you have standardized page size and other challenges inherent with POD, you might as well just be downloading an e-book.

            I know I am in a very small 'paranoid' minority on this one but- POD gets you the ability to read the book, without having a psychological profile of you developed based on the relative times spent on each page. A profile that can and will be sold to advertisers (if only to fund the library building and license costs) . A profile that can and will be stored forever by the NSA so that should they ever find a reason to 'target' that 'collected data' it is there, and able to either help them understand and/o

          • Once you have standardized page size and other challenges inherent with POD, you might as well just be downloading an e-book. Cost may be an issue for e-readers today, but you already can get some pretty damn cheap e-readers if you are willing to buy something other than the big name brands. So if you are talking about the future of books, not just trends over the next 5-10 years, it is most likely going to be incredibly cheap color e-ink tablets that most books are read from.

            No one knows the future for sure, so perhaps POD will have its place, but I find it doubtful.

            Most POD systems are capable of producing all standard sizes up to 8.5x11 as a normal part of the process. It's on the order of a penny per page, plus a little under a buck for the cover, depending on who does your POD. A good deal of backlist titles are produced via POD in order to avoid large print runs while still keeping titles in print. Commercial POD is actually at a point where it's cheaper to print and ship a galley of a book to use for editing or review than it is to print it as a "manuscript" w

        • by icebike (68054)

          But I'm amazed that no one is constructively talking about POD in these "future of books" discussions, even at the risk on the store side of the big chains folding. (ProTip - why would I even order from amazon if I could get my copy in my hand at lunch?)

          The reason is that most people don't want to OWN dead tree books anymore. Too big. Too heavy. Too much to move. Most people read it once and done.
          And the publishers aren't going to give POD away for anything less than a paperback price.

          POD works for technical books, where you need to access it randomly, and away from a computer.

          Other than that, nobody wants it. E-books are easier.

          • And the publishers aren't going to give POD away for anything less than a paperback price.

            Yeah, the publishers are the problem, protecting their obsolete business models via government monopolies. Without those, we'd already have a per-unit fee for content that reflects the true costs of distribution (and readership would be way up, "promoting the progress").

            The potential is huge, but in the meantime I rarely pay more than $5 for a book (Amazon Marketplace), DRM free.

            • by icebike (68054)

              The cost of distribution is not a fair price for a book.

              Let me know when you are willing to work for the price of transpiration alone.
              I'll swing buy and pick you up, and you can dig me a swimming pool out back for free.

      • Re:Why bother (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dj245 (732906) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @07:02PM (#45867433) Homepage

        A library without books is... pointless.

        A library which focuses primarily on books is ... almost pointless.

        Libraries are there to help improve the general level of education of the nearby population. Storing and lending books were by far the most important functions of libraries when books were the primary source of information in our culture. That is not even close to true anymore. I spend over $200 per month on books at Amazon each month, so I am a heavy reader, but I still consume most information online. And I was a holdout when it came to getting an e-reader, but over half of my book reading is now done on my iPad. In fact the reason I finally bought an iPad last year is because I found myself reading books from my phone far more often than reading paper books, and I wanted a better form factor.

        Like it or not, the Internet is a better source of most information now. So libraries need to adapt to that in order to perform their function as education centers. That means more real estate for computers and less for books. With less emphasis on books libraries can also focus on more personal relationships with the community. I go to about five lectures at my local library per year and find them very interesting. I think other services like tutoring and job skill training make a lot of sense in modern libraries as well. I know my local library has many classes each season such as basic accounting, how to appeal your real estate assessment, computer training, etc. These are all far more important than renting out books IMHO.

        The problem with a library full of e-books currently is the licensing, which the 'article' unhelpfully doesn't discuss at all. Libraries buy books and they own them. Or people can donate books and then the library owns them. You don't own an e-book, you license it. Most licenses for ebooks for libraries go on a per-checkout model where the library has to pay for each checkout. Suddenly the library isn't a place where you can buy a book, read it once, donate it to the library, and support them that way.

        If the library owns the books, then they have a collection, and that collection is a community asset. If the library has to pay for each checkout, I feel that any donation is just subsidizing poor/cheap people's amazon ebook purchases. You can't donate ebooks to the library so all this money has to come from taxes/cash donations. Ultimately at that point the library is an expensive internet cafe and a place taxpayer money is funneled into Amazon in an inefficient way.

        • If a library costs $1.5m more to build and probably tens of thousands of dollars per year more to maintain with shelving and cataloging etc then you can afford to take that $1.5m put it into a trust and probably pay the entirety of your annual licensing fees out of the trust's Capitol Gains.

          Checking out a book costs a library about $0.50 per checkout. And a hardback book costs about $27. The average checkouts per year for a book is 23. That means a library per hardback book pays $11.50 per year per book

    • A library without books is... pointless. Why not just build a Starbucks or a McDonalds. Or, actually, an empty room. What a waste.

      Not at all. Libraries are only superficially about books. What they are really about is knowledge and that comes in many forms. That's why libraries have music and films too and why they are starting to include makerspaces. [makeitatyourlibrary.org]

      My concern with something like this is that some libraries are swayed by the arguments for DRM. But there is the beginning of a movement for libraries to crowd traditional publishers out of their niche [smashwords.com] which should mean DRM is completely out of the picture in those cases.

    • by drkim (1559875)

      A library without books is... pointless. Why not just build a Starbucks or a McDonalds. Or, actually, an empty room. What a waste.

      This will be next door to the all robot strip club.

    • People miss that another point of a library as a societal archive. We've invested as a society (the modern west that is) so very much in libraries partially because of how greatly their archaeological legacy from previous cultures impacted us.

      I would much rather see a library with lots of books and let you either choose the book or scan the barcode to check it out. This also makes more sense for letting people wander into a good book. Even with a nice Netflix style browsing system, you'll never get the e
  • Makes Sense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Every time I've visited a library in the UK all the users are just browsing Facebook or playing games on the computers, or lending out DVDs of Hollywood movies. Cutting out the books entirely would seem like a sensible move because nobody seems to read them.

    • My trip to the library to pick up books takes all of two minutes. Go in, pick up holds, check them out, leave. Facebook dude is there for who knows how long. No comparison.
      • Facebook dude is there for who knows how long. No comparison.

        Yeah, well. That's just, like your opinion, man.

      • by icebike (68054)

        My trip to the library to pick up books takes all of two minutes. Go in, pick up holds, check them out, leave. Facebook dude is there for who knows how long. No comparison.

        My trips to the library are non-existent.
        My library comes to me on any one of my android devices, computers, or e-readers.

        Unless I live around the corner from the library, I couldn't justify driving uptown to the library, when I could get most of what I want digitally.
        I'm so over fondling books.

      • We're similar in our library trips. For my kids, we'll still sometimes browse the shelves to see what they want to read, but for us we reserve the titles we want on the library's website. We're notified when the titles are in, pick them up, and then are ready to leave (once the kids pick out some books and/or DVDs). Just because we're not spending hours browsing the shelves doesn't mean we're not heavily utilizing our library system. To be honest, I don't think we've had zero books/DVDs checked out of t

    • by mendax (114116)

      Cutting out the books entirely would seem like a sensible move because nobody seems to read them.

      I beg to differ. I have an e-book reader given to me as a gift stuffed with free e-books of works in the public domain. Yet, I hardly ever use it because I prefer to read paper books. There are many people who use the stacks in a traditional library; you just never seem to notice them. My sister is one of them. She reads about 100 books a year, all novels, all traditional books from the local library.

      • by jabberw0k (62554)

        Yea, verily.

        I like to wander the stacks, looking for unusual shape books, interesting covers... pull a book out, read a few random paragraphs in the middle, maybe peek at the beginning or end, leaf through looking for photos and illustrations... How would you browse that way with a database of e-books?

  • As the owner of enough paper books to burn down a small invading zombie army, I'm really torn between applauding their innovation and cringing at the thought that paper in hand will be going the way of scrolls.

  • It is actually an interesting concept. Many Libraries that I am involved with in a support role are struggling to find a place in a modern world where the majority of people have the information that they need at their finger tips. People just do not visit Libraries in the way they used to.

    They are often now becoming a community service operation for the disadvantaged and often have more people using the internet than people actually borrowing books but even then the level of visitation makes it hard to

    • by mendax (114116)

      It is actually an interesting concept. Many Libraries that I am involved with in a support role are struggling to find a place in a modern world where the majority of people have the information that they need at their finger tips. People just do not visit Libraries in the way they used to.

      They are often now becoming a community service operation for the disadvantaged and often have more people using the internet than people actually borrowing books but even then the level of visitation makes it hard to justify them staying open.

      Indeed, the last time I was in a library was to use one of their meeting rooms to meet with friends to discuss some crazy idea one of them had for a startup. It was on a Sunday afternoon and the library was inundated with people, people carrying books as well as DVD's and CD's. Libraries are more than simply a place to find books and get information. They have tried to become a place which can be considered to be the center of the local community.

  • I used to borrow books from my library. Will they lend me e-readers or tablets?

  • So far there doesn't appear to be a problem with returning checked out e-readers.

    Give it time, the place just opened. Broken, missing, and outdated readers will become an issue. Replacement cost of broken, worn-out, and technologically obsolete readers will be a major continuing cost, and throwing people in jail who lose/break them and can't afford the replacement cost will become a political issue.

    Also, I wonder if the library will get any financial return from the user data that will almost certainly make its way to Amazon and B&N?

    Wasn't this one of the background stories in "Robo

  • 10,000 books? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @05:20PM (#45866999) Journal
    " BiblioTech purchases its 10,000-title digital collection for the same price as physical copies, but the county saved millions on architecture because the building's design didn't need to accommodate printed books."

    10,000 books? WTF? Even if they're sloggy PDF files at 5 megs each, that's only 50GB of books. You could fit that on a USB Key. I have 60,000 books on a drive. They're assembled as a collection in Calibre, and then indexed in Dropout. I can get any piece of data I want from them. My Personal Portable Library five times larger and thousands of times more useful than BiblioTech. What a pathetic piece of crap.

    There are plenty of online book sharing sites with millions of books available. For Free. Assemble your library NOW before the authorities shut it all down by force, or the neoliberal fuquads running the tech companies make it impossible by altering the direction of technology (dumb datapads hooked to private clouds is the first step...)

    • by etash (1907284)
      care to provide one such link for a site will millions of (free) books available (other than project gutenberg) - preferrably with the possibility to for batch downloading the whole archive ? and no I don't mean a LMGTFY link
      • by hey! (33014)

        Well, archive.org for one. The US National Archives for special topics.

        But why "other than project gutenberg?" Project Gutenberg as 4x as many books as this "library" claims to have.

      • by icebike (68054)

        care to provide one such link for a site will millions of (free) books available (other than project gutenberg) - preferrably with the possibility to for batch downloading the whole archive ? and no I don't mean a LMGTFY link

        There are at least a dozen, (and NO, you don't get to dismiss Gutenberg out of hand).
        Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, and Google all have scads of free titles. (You just have to know how to search).
        https://openlibrary.org/ [openlibrary.org] over a million titles.
        There are several "lending" libraries that pool ebooks so you can borrow through OpenLibrary.org https://openlibrary.org/libraries [openlibrary.org] (scroll down).

        You don't have enough time in your remaining life to read the number of freely available ebooks that a simple web search will t

    • by tlambert (566799)

      I totally agree with the parent, the collection size is pathetic. I have >6,000 physical books I personally own, and they fit in a spare bedroom with room for a desk and about 20 computers on two bakers racks in it, along with several filing cabinets.

      The reading experience on eReaders is shit (I say this having worked on 3 of them, if you include the iPad), title selection is limited to things available as eBooks which leaves out almost everything that isn't pablum or that didn't come off copyright pre

    • by icebike (68054)

      I have 60,000 books on a drive. They're assembled as a collection in Calibre, and then indexed in Dropout.

      I love Calibre. Its a totally awesome application.

      My collection does not include 60k titles, because I collect only what I need, from legal sources.
      Calibre is running on a computer on my network all the time, and all of my devices can access it via the built in content server.
      All backed up on dropbox, all of it full text indexed.

      Once I buy an e-book, it goes into Calibre. The only thing that doesn't go in there is library books.

  • this if anything is 'embrace extend extinguish' on the part of private industry. According to policy, e-books get a 14 day maximum checkout and devices in the library have a 60 minute time limit. you can check out a maximum of 5 e-books, with 1 renewal only per item.
    My library on the other hand permits me to check out 50 real books at a time, with a 31 day checkout time. I can renew my checkouts 3 times and if i accidentally lose or damage a book, the replacement cost is significantly less expensive th
  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @07:20PM (#45867505) Homepage Journal

    Preservation of information for future generations, and conversely providing information generated past generations to the present.

    I can walk into my nice, but hardly cutting edge public library and look up my hometown paper's front page for December 8, 1941 and read about the reaction to the Pearl Harbor attack. I can look for science fiction books published in the 1950s by publishers that have gone out of business. I can find strange, but interesting books that have never been digitized and are very hard to find, like a military history of the bicycle written in the 1960s.

    If I go to a *world class* library, like the main branch of the Boston Public Library, I can examine rare manucripts, maps and sheet music, although they have been making an effort to digitize that stuff. If I needed a service manual for a fifty year-old TV set, this is the first place I'd look.

    I can understand going primarily ebook for a community that can't afford a real library, but even such a library needs stacks where it preserves books of local interest for future generations. Given that they've given up physical books and all the associated expenses, 10,000 books seems like an awfully thin collection to me.

    • The better solution is actually to digitize all that stuff. Paper is absolutely terrible for archiving information. You have to be in close physical proximity to read it, only one person can see it at a time, it's incredibly flammable, it wears out (there's a reason that you can't physically touch most old books and papers), etc.

      Paper archives are of interest only for the novelty of seeing the actual piece of paper. The US Constitution is a great example. Even if the thing were destroyed we'd still have
  • by rueger (210566) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @08:18PM (#45867767) Homepage
    Like most libraries, our local [bibliocommons.com] has embraced all manner of e-technology. Although the vast majority of users still prefer 'real books," they also offer e-books, e-reader loans, music downloads, and audiobook downloads, as well as access to a large group of databases.

    As an end user I'd call most of this a disaster. Books are simple - you sign it out, take it home, and renew it until you're done reading it. If someone else needs the book they can place a hold, and you can't renew it any more. If you need a book not on the shelf you can place a hold.

    I had been using them for audiobooks to listen to in the car on my Android phone. This worked great except that pretty much the only company servicing Canadian libraries is Overdrive [overdrive.com], and their software is bar none the worst that I've encountered.

    Still, it was just usable enough that despite the really poor selection of audiobooks, the limited number of "copies available", the lack of any way to renew books, and the really, really, really horrid interface on either PC or phone, I could live with it.

    This year Overdrive updated their software, with a new added "feature": you could no longer limit downloads to WIFI. Or even pause a download in progress. As a consequence one ill-timed audiobook download consumed my entire month's cel phone data cap in less than a day.

    I deleted it, and let my library know that I was using Pirate Bay from here on - faster, easier, better selection, and no chance of getting hammered with data overage charges.

    Beyond that it's pretty well known that publishers define an e-book as only being downloadable for a few dozen times - alleging that this replicates the physical life of an actual book. It's an obvious lie, and ignores the longstanding practices of rebinding and repairing books - something that libraries have done for many decades.

    Our library has a pretty remarkable section of CDs on loan, and actually has surprised me many times with the stuff that they have on the shelves. The downloadable music offering Freegal [freegalmusic.com] lets you grab a grand total of THREE songs per month. DRM free, but kind of useless.

    At the end of the day I wish that our library would go back to lending physical artifacts - the restraints on them by the publishers makes any attempt to provide e-content pretty much impossible.
    • by fermion (181285)
      The fallacy here, is that a library is solely a repository of books. At it's basis, a library can be considered to be a curated collection of books. As a library cannot hold all books, books must be squired and disposed of regularly to maximize the usefulness to the audience.

      However, in opposition to popular belief, a library serves a purpose beyond recreation and toilets for people who may not have access otherwise. It is the basis of our educational system. When I was a kid, and did not have access

  • A legit question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Saturday January 04, 2014 @08:37PM (#45867841)
    Is there a way to determine that the ebook has not been altered?

    I can think of several places where groups of people would like to control the information, and many who would do it if they could

    Many on the Religious right would like to either scrub or reword evolutionary and or biological references. Physics and astronomy texts are a little suspect also.

    Many on the industrial right would want to alter, remove references research in Greenhouse gas

    Many on the left might like to remove non-PC texts

    No doubt many groups would find objectionable stuff they would like to change. Any of these groups might like to alter or remove text, and if public bookburning events are any indication, it's pretty pointless to argue that they wouldn't.

    Some sort of trusted authority with a massive hashtag listing?

    Although I would really enjoy the rewritten stories about Jesus and the founding fathers raising the flag on Iwo Jima, and working tirelessly to end slavery.

  • Moments after the enabling regulations for the Banning Of Other Known Sources of Sufficiently Unverified Codexes ("BOOKS SUC") Act of 2051 are published, e-book readers across the nation delete all content excepting certain approved technical references. Subsequently, the long work of weeding out the hoarded dead tree editions begins.

  • They spent $2.3 million on a public library, and they fill it with Apple? This is absurd, everyone and their brother will be using them and they'll be locked down anyways. They can buy equivelent Windows machines for half the cost and they'll work just as well if not better. For eBook readers why not Kindle? A Kindle costs $199 which is half as much as the cheapest Apple tablets. Besides this would have given Amazon a chance to step up and become a champion on education. It really is a waste of tax payer m
  • by hrvatska (790627) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @03:02AM (#45869105)
    If the only users of libraries were people who only read text, I would be OK with an all e-reader library. However, I've noticed that my local library's children section is well used, and a lot of those users are early readers and parents of early readers who take out books where the illustrations matter as much as the words. And many of those books are large format that don't do well in a smaller format. It seems like a library going to an all e-reader format is abandoning an awful lot of the books for early readers.

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