Some of our patrons who visit the library cannot afford online devices. They don't own a smartphone, eReader, tablet, laptop, or other device used to access the Internet. For years, these patrons have had to visit our computer lab to log-onto a desktop PC (or, now, thin-client workstation), but that's all changed. Who needs all that expensive technology when you can checkout a portable Internet tablet from the library's circulation desk?
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We even have a helpful "how-to" video for patrons to watch.
Portable Tablet Checkout (How-To Video)
by Mooresville Public Library
Patrons use their library cards to checkout the tablets from the Tablet Hub. These tablets are programmed to automatically connect to the library's WiFi network as soon as they are checked out. The tablets will only operate on library premises, shutting down automatically if taken beyond our WiFi receptivity. To check-in tablets, patrons simply insert them into an empty port on the Tablet Hub, and the tablet checks itself in using our Evergreen Indiana ILS. Check-in also automatically wipes the tablet's memory, so any residual content left by the patron on web browsers, etc., is erased.
Besides patrons who need this technology but cannot afford their own, these portable tablets may be used by patrons who have forgotten their portable online devices.
We decided to position the Tablet Hub by the circulation desk, because that's the highest traffic area in the library, and staff could constantly monitor the unit (and provide immediate assistance to patrons) there.
We just launched our "Go-Tabs" (how's that for a catchy title?) late last week, so we've no user statistics yet, but we're optimistic that this will provide a valuable service.