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BiblioTech, VIA expand digital library reach to mobile customers 

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 21, 2016) — BiblioTech and VIA Metropolitan Transit are partnering to bring Bexar County’s all-digital public library to the traveling public with the new “Ride & Read” program. The first BiblioTech kiosk was unveiled Wednesday at VIA’s Centro Plaza transit center, in observance of National Literacy Month and just in time for the digital library’s third anniversary. Kiosks will be installed in five more transit centers in the first of a two-phase project.
 
“We created BiblioTech in 2013 with the mission of bridging literacy and technology gaps in San Antonio through our physical branches and online through our digital collections,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. “Since then, we’ve taken the digital library to public housing communities, the courthouse complex Downtown, public school libraries, three Joint Base San Antonio libraries, wounded warriors recovering at Fort Sam Houston, and to military service members serving around the world. Today, we are bringing the BiblioTech library to VIA transit centers and vehicles.”
 
VIA riders can use the kiosks to register as BiblioTech patrons, then browse and download books from a collection of more than 40,000 e-book titles. Once a rider’s selections are downloaded to a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop, the e-books remain available for two weeks before the titles are electronically returned. All registered BiblioTech patrons can use VIA’s free 4G LTE WiFi, available on all buses and at all transit centers, to access BiblioTech’s apps, and browse and download books, movies, music and periodicals.
 
“VIA is committed to creating community connections and providing access to opportunity. We are proud to partner with Bexar County on the Ride & Read initiative to connect VIA riders to a full library of information and provide opportunity for individual enrichment, while we keep our community moving,” VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt said. 

Through an agreement with VIA approved by Commissioners Court, BiblioTech kiosks and wall-mounted ADA-compliant screens are being installed at VIA’s Downtown Information Center, Centro Plaza, the Ellis Alley Transit Center, the Medical Center Transit Center, the Crossroads Park & Ride and the North Star Transit Center. After each kiosk is installed, BiblioTech and VIA staff will be on hand at each center to assist riders with registration and use of the equipment. BiblioTech also will participate in VIA ridership fairs throughout the year to promote the partnership.
 
All Bexar County residents are eligible to register for a BiblioTech library card. The physical branches of the library are located at 3505 Pleasanton Road and in the San Antonio Housing Authority’s Gardens at San Juan at 2003 South Zarzamora St. A third branch will open in 2017 in SAHA’s Wheatley Heights community currently under construction. Patrons can access the library’s collections 24/7 at www.bexarbibliotech.org.
 
VIA Metropolitan Transit serves 14 member cities in the Greater San Antonio Region and the unincorporated areas of Bexar County. VIA operates seven days a week on 90 routes and provided 42.2 million rides across the region in 2015. VIA’s mission is to enhance the community’s quality of life by providing regional and customer-oriented public transportation that is dependable, cost-effective and enticing to more riders. VIA’s AAA bond rating reflects the organization’s sound management and financial practices. Visit www.VIAinfo.net for more information. Follow us on www.Facebook.com/VIATransit, www.Twitter.com/VIA_Transit, and www.Instagram.com/VIATransit.

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