What if you lived in a world where no books existed, at least during the summer? In Utah, on July 29, 2015, the twelve year-old, Matthew Flores, could only read books when he was at school but his school was closed during the summer (See NBC Nightly News). He did not have books at home. One day, Flores was reading grocery ads out loud. He was heard by his mailman, Ron Lynch. Flores told him that he did not have bus fare to go to the library and his father had to use the family car to go to work. The only thing to read were ads. Lynch posted the boy’s problem on his Facebook page and it went viral. Now, Lynch delivers donated books to Flores by the truckload. His house has a collection of books. By the looks of the donated books in his house, they have no specific subject area. They are not cataloged but Flores intends to read ALL of the books that come to his home.
As pointed out above, there can be barriers to reading books. Is there a way to break those barriers for those who cannot afford transportation to get to the library? In Texas, Nelson Wolff wanted to give the “economically disadvantaged” access to technology that would allow them to have a chance to read as many books as they wished. Through this public sector project, Wolff (with his team) built the BiblioTech. BiblioTech is one of the first bookless public libraries in America. Its first library branch opened on September 14th, 2013. Its mission is “to bridge literacy and technology gaps in San Antonio and surrounding areas by establishing a community presence at the physical locations as well as an online presence through the digital collections and resources” (bexarbibliotech [dot] org).
Could this be a way to bring more customers to the library by breaking the accessibility barrier through wireless access to the collection through the customers’ own smart phones and tablets? Would you work in a bookless library?
Biblio Tech. About. Retrieved from bexarbibliotech [dot] org.
Donatich, J. (n.d). Why Books Still Matter. Journal Of Scholarly Publishing, 40(4), 329-342.
Pittman, E. (2014). NELSON WOLFF. (cover story). Government Technology, 27(2), 14.
Tan, Avianne (July 29, 2015). Utah Boy Who Asked for ‘Junk Mail’ to Read Gets Over 500 Book Donations. Retrieved from abc news online.
Editor’s Note – this article first published in Computer Savviness – and republished with the author’s permission.