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All-Digital Bibliotech Library Gets State Accreditation

Bexar County

The Bexar County Bibliotech all-digital library has passed another milestone on its way to a grand opening in September, receiving its official accreditation.

The accreditation from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will allow the new library to operate for its first year.

"They’ve been a wonderful supporter for us, very enthusiastic," said Bibliotech Project Manager Laura Cole.

She said the provisional accreditation means the new facility is going to be a true library and not just a technology center and the American Library Association has also been supportive of the country’s first bookless library, offering guidance on book selection and programming.

Cole said each electronic book will be checked out only to one person at a time, just like a hardcover book.

"It’s the way the publishers have negotiated the contracts," Cole said. "It’s one license per user at a time, just as in a regular library. So if we wanted five copies, for example, of 'The Hunger Games' to circulate, if we wanted five people to have access to that title at any given time, we would have to purchased five licenses."

Cole said the newly-hired head librarian is combing through booklists now and working with publisher’s brokers to purchase $275,000 worth of e-books to start with. At about $25 apiece, Cole says the e-books are more expensive initially than paper books, but they are cost-effective because they will last forever.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.