iPads in Libraries – Some Stories

There are quite a few uses for an iPad in a library setting, and some libraries have already started experimenting. Here are two examples:

#1: Omaha Public Library

From Amy Mather – “For the past few years, the Omaha Public Library’s Summer Reading Program kick-off party has been held in Elmwood Park in Omaha and has attracted up to 2500 kids for kick-off activities including live music, games,  pony rides, etc. Although always a success, we had one glaring “missed opportunity” at these events: signing up kids & teens for the Summer Reading program “online” at an outside venue.”

“Gary Wasdin, director of Omaha Public Library, applied for a local grant to obtain 6 iPads in which we could use to signup kids & adults for the Summer Reading Program. The iPads would allow us to connect to the AT&T’s 3G network and signup patrons on the spot for the Summer Reading Program. On June 9th, we signed up over 500 kids, teens, and adults using iPads. The iPad allowed us to take the mobile library to the next level and we looked really cool too!”

#2: Genesee Valley Educational Partnership

From Christopher Harris – “I am at a school library system, a regional support center funded by NY state to provide services and resources for 22 small, rural school districts in Western NY. Since we got the iPads so late in the year, right now we are just loaning them to teachers and librarians to build awareness in our districts. Over the summer, we will be working on developing some best practice guidelines and suggested uses for the devices. We hope to begin lending them for student use in the fall, though they may be for in-school use only the first year as they remain a very high-value theft target. We have 150 iPod shuffles we send home with students without any problems, so hopefully we will get to that point soon with the iPads as well.”

“Right now, we are loaning books from iBooks. My reading of the terms of use suggest that we can do this within our system. I am also working directly with publishers to secure additional content. We have a number of graphic novel biographies from Rosen, as well as a large collection (125 sci-fi/fantasy books) that I just got from another publisher. As for other apps, we purchased Pages/Keynote/Numbers and have 5 keyboard docks we can send out. We also have Dragon Dictation, Sundry Notes, Complete Shakespeare, Historical Maps, and a few others.”

What are these two libraries doing?

  • fixing a problem (signing up kids online … in a park)
  • experimenting … but also developing guidelines and strategy for use
  • breaking out of the “this is the way we’ve always done it” syndrome
  • applying new technology to traditional library services

Is your library experimenting with iPads? If so – how are you using them?