6 Bookless Libraries

As space and budget concerns continue to grow, many libraries are opting to forego building their print collections in favor of providing electronic resources. This new trend toward building digital libraries has been developing over the past several years in spite of the controversy over eliminating print materials. Many people have spoken out against bookless libraries, especially with regard to public libraries, stating that the digital divide will keep many from using library resources and as well as the fact that many publishers won’t sell their publications to libraries in eBook format. What are your opinions about bookless libraries in the public and academic sectors? Here are six bookless libraries to start the conversation.

San Antonio, Texas


In the fall of this year, San Antonio will unveil the first bookless public library in the US – BiblioTech. This 4,989 square-foot of space will be dedicated to all-digital services. Its design is heavily influenced by Apple retail stores and will make available 100 e-Readers available for loan, 50 e-readers for children, 50 computer stations, 25 laptops and 25 tablets on site. The Bexar County library is a $1.5 million project that will offer over 10,000 eBook titles to patrons at opening. Read more here.

Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) Library
The University of Texas at San Antonio

The Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) Library at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is one of the nation’s first completely bookless libraries. This academic library opened in 2010 and continues to thrive, serving an average of 1,900 visitors per week when classes are in session. The Library subscribes to approximately 50,000 e-journals and 470 databases and offers more than one million e-books to its students, faculty, and staff. Read more here.

Fiedler Engineering Library
Kansas State University

Kansas State University’s Fiedler Engineering Library is a state-of-the-art electronic library which went nearly bookless in October 2000. The library opened with only a few reference titles and journals which were only available in print format and continues to thrive supporting its students, staff, and faculty as well as patrons from the greater University and the community. Read more here.

The Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Library
Stanford University

Stanford University’s engineering library weeded 85 percent of its books when it made the move from the Terman Engineering Center to the new Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center. Instead of the previous 80,000 print volumes, it now offers 10,500 print books +55,000 ebooks from major Sci/Tech book publishers, 100 print journals for browsing, and 12,000 ejournal subscriptions. It also offers it’s students, faculty, and staff circulating ereaders: 6 Kindle 2, 2 Kindle DX, 2 Kindle3, 4 Kindle Touch, B&N Nook and 5 Sony Touch ereaders. And there is a “Gadget Bar” in the library with iPad3, HTC Flyer, KindleFire, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for in library use. Read more here.

Engineering Library
Cornell University

In June 2010, the Cornell University Engineering Library announced it would go bookless in order to increase online resources including e-books, journals, technical papers, and reference materials as well as provide more space for seating, group study areas, and collaborative learning spaces. By June 2011 it had transformed into a completely bookless branch with 24/7 access to it’s community. Read more here:

Library Learning Terrace
Drexel University

Drexel University opened the Library Learning Terrace, a completely bookless library in June 2011. It contains only rows of computers with access to more than 170 million electronic items. The 3,000-square-foot libary offers group collaboration spaces and a personal librarian program. Read more here.