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U Texas San Antonio Opens Bookless Library

The University of Texas at San Antonio may be able to claim a first: The recently opened Applied Engineering and Technology Library has no printed books in its collections--not a single one, other than those brought in by students and faculty. Instead of storing physical volumes, the library offers students electronic resources, including 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions. The library, which can accommodate 80 people, is a satellite to the university's larger John Peace Library.

U Texas San Antonio, which has about 29,000 students, said its new electronic library is catching on with students, who are finding library staff more available to assist them now that they don't have to manage circulation and reshelf books.

The new library space offers ultra modern furniture and what the university calls "space age décor." It includes 10 desktop computers, a printer, a scanner, and five large LCD screens. To support team study sessions, the library also provides a series of team study niches and three group study rooms outfitted with whiteboards.

"As our campus becomes a national research university, it is important that we continue to create communities that engage students," said Krisellen Maloney, dean of libraries. "In this library, we encourage collaboration. We want to hear our students talking and solving problems together. This is the beginning of their training as professional engineers and scientists." Maloney has a background in technology. She joined the university from Georgetown University, where she had served as associate university librarian for digital services and technology planning.

Now the library is exploring ways to take the bookless concept further. Shortly it will start providing pre-loaded collections of e-books on devices such as the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle for students to check out and take home.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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