Bexar County, Texas, which includes San Antonio, will launch the nation's first all-digital public library system, dubbed BiblioTech, this year. A prototype location on the county's south side is slated to open this fall, and the county hopes to open similar libraries in the future.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff got his inspiration for the all-digital library from Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
"If you want to get an idea what it looks like, go into an Apple store," Wolff said, according to the report.
Here's how it will work, according to the San Antonio Express-News: There won't be any physical books in the library. There will be digital systems instead. County residents will also be able to check out one of the 100 e-readers available for home use for two weeks.
However, creating the library won't be cheap. The county will save some money by using a building it already owns, but it will need at least $250,000 to gain access to the first 10,000 book titles. And costs for design and construction haven't yet been determined.
Digital versions of books have become popular as more people buy tablets and e-readers. Many libraries already allow people to download digital books, but there so far have not been any all-digital libraries.
Wolff noted that BiblioTech won't replace the current library system but will enhance what's already available.
"People are always going to want books, but we won't be doing that in ours," Wolff said.