Close the book on library books

The new BiblioTech digital library in Bexar County, Texas, could raise some interesting questions for the libraries in East York and throughout the Toronto Public Library system — about how these branches will evolve with the digital world and increasingly tech-savvy patrons.

The idea of an all-digital library may leave some people uneasy, but we can’t escape the fact that the generation of the digital age is taking advantage of progressively digitized literature.

With mediums such as magazines and newspapers, we are already seeing the trend of declining hardcopy sales and the rise of digital editions.

East York’s S. Walter Stewart public library, along with the rest of the TPL system, has begun to conform to the demand of digital material. The system offers a celebrated collection of free online magazine titles and eBooks, but yet, they still fill the shelves with hard copy books.

Of course, it is the Millennial Generation that is the primary audience for digital materials. In a fast-paced world where generation “Y” needs information this second, hard copy books, magazines and newspapers just won’t cut it.

All reading material needs to be accessible from everywhere, because frankly, many people don’t even have the time to go down to the library to get the information they need.

Digital reading material is the way of the future… and even for those who are not as tech-savvy as the younglings, there is another advantage to the idea of digital editions, or at least a digital library:

From an environmental standpoint, think of the extraordinary amount of paper that has been used to generate the thousands of books in each of the library branches in East York.

An all-digital library would erase the need for print editions of books and magazines, therefore erasing the amount of paper wasted on hard-copy reading material. Those trees could be saved.

It is understandable that many readers enjoy actually holding a book in their hands and not looking blankly into a computer screen. But with new technologies in portable e-readers, people can have the traditional reading experience without the traditional reading material.