Bexar County, Texas, is developing a completely bookless library system.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff is an unabashed book lover with 1,000 first editions in his private collection, but even he sees the writing on the wall.
Paper books have lost their allure, and future generations may have little use for them, Wolff contends.
So when he embarked on a mission to create a countywide library system, he decided it should be bookless from the start.
Personally, I like digital books as much as paper books. A rough count of my last 20 or so recent reads reveals that about a third of them have been e-books, and I won’t pretend that I have strong feelings one way or another on that question.
But I do love physical books on shelves.
In 2012 I was able to attend grand openings of two brand-new or newly renovated libraries in my area (Rock Hill and Webster Groves), and I’m looking forward to visiting the newly reopened downtown branch of the St. Louis Public Library sometime soon. There’s nothing like the feeling of walking around between library shelves, the sense of wonder, of possibilities. All of the unread books calling out to be explored.
Digital books have their advantages, but there’s no substitute in the digital world for browsing in a real library, full of real books.