An electronic personal library apparatus comprises a control unit, programmable memory modules selectively communicated with the control unit to supply programmed information to the control unit, programmable compact cylinders, and a compact cylinder reader that communicates electronically with the control unit. The compact cylinders are encoded with information and the cylinder reader accesses the information and provides the information to the control unit. The control unit stores portions of the information received from the cylinders in the memory modules communicating with the control unit, or displays sequential displays of the information encoded on the compact cylinders. The information network interfaces with the personal library apparatus and includes a central information storage facility that communicates with several separate book bank facilities, each at different geographic locations. The central information storage facility provides text of books, periodicals, magazines, etc. encoded on laser readable disks to the book bank facilities. The book bank facilities transfer the information encoded on the disks to the compact cylinders or memory modules. The electronic duplication of information at the point of purchase of the information, the book bank, provides the text of books, periodicals, magazines, etc. in a machine readable form that may be visually displayed by the electronic personal library apparatus.