Tablet Buffet: A Public Library Experiment
We’ve been trying an experiment at Mediatech with tablets. We call it “operation Tablet Buffet.” We’re curious to see which tablets hold up the best to public consumption. Which won’t break? We put all the tablets out on the circulation desk for in-the-room sign out. Here’s what we’ve learned (so far):
- Tablets should be easier to turn on/off. That initial 10 seconds of use is critical.
- Theft has not been a problem because of the combined sign-in, check-out system. Once a person enters Mediatech, they must sign in. If they want to use a tablet, they check it out, leaving their signature in the tablet’s place. So it is easy to tell, at glance, who has the device. It is possible to use the tablets anywhere in the room.
- Devices are charged in the locked closet each evening.
- Specialization is good. Stocking each tablet with different apps gives them different capabilities which are soon discovered by the patrons. If one won’t work, another will.
- Each device is setup so that it can be used to browse online resources, YouTube, Facebook and so on. However, individual attention is paid to each situation. Children are reminded to check out of social media, and browsers are checked each evening.
- The iPads and the Nintendo DS are not included in the mix because they are already available, tethered down near a chair.
So which tablet is used the most? So far the winner is Little Scholar® by School Zone. Why? You can pick it up and turn it on... and it works.