Garfield County Libraries circulate Kindles, iPads and Chromebooks.
Garfield County circulates Kindle Paperwhites pre-loaded with books. The checkout kit includes a padded bag, device case, charger, and short user guide. To publicize the program, they put out Kindle boxes and decorated them. The devices are preloaded with best-sellers, patron requests, companion titles that go with library programs such as book clubs and One Book, and selected self-published free titles of high quality.
Kindles are a “Lucky Day”, first-come, first-served, non-holdable item. They check out for 3 weeks with no renewals. Only adults can check them out and they are not available for ILL.
Challenges with circulating Kindles:
- Kindles need to be cleaned for cat hair, smoke, etc. They have a kit with screen wipes, microfiber cloth, lint roller, Febreze.
- Amazon allows patrons using the device to post on social media.
- Damaged devices - Do you buy an insurance plan or purchase new Kindles when one is damaged? Garfield County charges $80 for broken device.
- Kindles aren’t accessible to patrons with visual impairments.
Advantages of circulating Kindles:
- Patron who wants popular book with a long hold list could get lucky and check it out on a Kindle.
- Patrons learn about e-readers and if they want to buy one.
- Great for patrons going on vacation.
Garfield County plans to purchase the Whispercast institution management tool from Amazon. It lets you wipe remotely and eliminates issues with patrons using library social media or patrons being locked out of a book because it’s on too many devices.
iPads & Chromebooks:
Garfield County chose iPads and Chromebooks to circulate because they seemed like the "it" technologies. They are checked out in-library only for 2 hours a day maximum. Teens can check them out with one-time verbal permission from their guardian.
Each branch chooses which apps to have on their iPads, tailoring them to their collection. They have found that parents check them out and hand them to their kids. Garfield County hired Macprofessionals to manage the iPads, but there are still issues with failure to sync and the need to update the operating system frequently.
Chromebooks are much easier to sync and update, but not as popular with the patrons as iPads. Garfield County bought Google for Business management licenses at $30/device from Newmind Group, and that’s about the only expense.
Challenges with iPads & Chromebooks:
- Replacement cycle goes down to 2-4 years, vs traditional PCs being 5 or more. After a certain amount of time, Google & Apple won't update your old devices.
- Some options patrons expect are missing - CD drives, Microsoft Office.
- Training staff.
- Keeping devices secure.
Advantages of iPads & Chromebooks:
- Different devices for different needs/wants, instead of one size fits all.
- Patrons can move around and sit where they want.
- For the technically challenged, easier to use than desktop PCs.
- Chromebooks are almost zero work for the IT department.
Dream big, but have a budget in mind.
Take the "tech temperature" of your community.
Keep everyone in the loop - patrons, staff, financial backers.
Webinar attendees’ wishlist of circulating items:
- Wifi Hotspots
- iPod Touches
- Meter readers
- DVD players
- Hearing assistance devices
- MP3 players
- Playaway Launchpad child-friendly tablets
- A/V studio equipment
- External hard drives
- Digital microscopes
--Andrea H. @GLCL