SURVEY: Is a Library Without Print Books a Library at All?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief

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In The New York Times Ashley Eklof, head librarian at BiblioTech — the all-digital e-book library in San Antonio, Texas faced down the charge that a library without books is not a library at all. “We have maintained from the beginning that we are a digital library, not a bookless library,” she said, adding that the role of a library is to serve the community with access to information and research assistance. In that regard BiblioTech checks all the boxes.

In addition a 2012 Pew Research Study (see infographic below) found that Americans are prioritizing closer cooperation with local schools and free literacy programs for young people, both things BiblioTech also prioritizes.

So, is there any reason to doubt Ms. Eklof? And is BiblioTech a model that might be replicated more and more in communities where need is greatest and money is tight? If so, will anything be lost by promoting libraries without print books?

Let us know what you think in the comments. 


About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.