Libraries Loaning iPads

I’ve been doing some searching to see what other libraries are doing with their loanable iPads.  Here are a few helpful examples:

  • Lewis Library @ MIT
    • This page has 2 useful PDFs on it – an “agreement” users have to sign for check out, and the Policies & Procedures that give library rules AND how student employees handle the iPad check-in process.
  • Wake Forest University
  • Virginia Tech University

This is me brain-dumping:

Here at BCU, we have a very small but very excited population — about 1,200 students and roughly 60 faculty.   People are ready to check these puppies out *now*.  To my mind, a wait list would be a disaster as would first-come-first-serve.  So I’m thinking we should do this as a reservation system — that way our patrons know when they’ll be able to check out the iPad. We’ll set steep late fines up front and reinforce the whole “someone is waiting on this just like YOU waited on this” concept to discourage late returns.

I would like to also make this an opportunity to get people on the shared calendars bandwagon (we all have Outlook but hardly anyone uses the calendar feature to set appointments – instead, sending out a dozen emails and waiting for a dozen responses, then sending out a dozen more with an alternative time… you know the drill).   There might be a problem with folks setting their own appointments —  that would make it hard for the library to keep a 1-hour window between each reservation so we can wipe out the last person’s personal information.

So I guess they’ll still have to come to the desk to make a reservation?  Maybe we could keep the reservations in some sort of online calendar so that faculty and students alike (students are not on Outlook) can see when the iPads are available.   I’m concerned about both the patron experience and the workflow logistics for our student employees who bravely cover the front lines for us.   What are your thoughts on this whole thing?


2 thoughts on “Libraries Loaning iPads

  1. I have no advice when it comes to your calendaring situation, but I wanted to affirm the overall concept of lending iPads. I recently spent a week with an iPad because my husband has a professor who lends out a personal machine. This professor also happens to be a librarian and the class is on the future of the book; I can’t applaud him enough for taking on this personal leadership role of helping to expose students to the iPad. (He also has a personal, circulating collection of Kindles and a Nook.) Needless to say it is far more important for an institution to take on this role, to recognize the need to expose students to technology that may be beyond personal reach – not everyone can know a great professor with such generous habits.

  2. Pingback: iPad lending project: First Results | Emerging Challenges

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