It may sound unreal but the University of Texas at San Antonio's Applied Engineering and Technology Library assures you that they are the first bookless library. Now if you come to think it through is not that hard to believe. Let's see...there are devices like kindle, ipad, laptops, ipods, tablets, google books, pdf and html books and articles, podcasts, mp3 and mp4 audio books, so if you have Internet in a library with librarians that are specialists in the topic you are researching and they happened to be skilled in online and database research, well then it is completely possible to do this.
Some libraries have taken the step of creating Learning Commons as a way of suppling the need of their patrons to use the physical space for Internet access and have accessible reference material (such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, index, literary criticism, biographies, etc.), but as more academics and specialists move from publishing in paper to publish online, there are more reliable sources available online. It is true that not everything can be found on the Internet, but what it is most important to this generations of researches is what is current, and that they can find it on online.
Plenty of Journals have seen the advantage of becoming fully online, as more people are now able to actually read them since they do not have to relay on waiting for shipping; they can have them as long as they download them when they need them.
This may be seen as an innovation, a bookless library, to some extent it may be so. To me is only the evolution of what some have feared and some have been waiting for, the unstoppable future of the book. And as Umberto Eco may say: The good of a book lies in it's being read. A book is made up of signs that speak of other signs, which in their turn speak of things. Without an eye to read them, a book contains signs that produce no concepts; therefore it is dumb. No matter in what format the book is as long as there is someone willing to read it, it should exist for those who like to turn the page as for those who want to scroll it down. Let's welcome the bookless libraries and continue to visit the traditional ones and for a good balance on both enjoy the Leaning Commons in your favorite academic library.
-------------------- 2009. Bookless Libraries? Inside Higher Ed. Accessed on October 18, 2010. From: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/06/library
Fish, Christi. 2010. UTSA opens nation's first bookless library on a university campus. UTSA Today. Accessed on October 18, 2010. From: http://www.utsa.edu/today/2010/09/aetlibrary.html