Tablets and Laptops in the Public Library?

Kristi Bryant kbryant at WELLSTOWN.ORG
Fri Dec 14 09:43:56 EST 2012

Hi Mike,

We have laptops that may be borrowed for two hours at a time with one renewal.  These are promoted as for use with our subscription or other database research since that can be time intensive.  We have had no problems with loaning these.  We've been loaning them for about 6 months now.  We are a small to medium sized public library in Maine.  We require a patron to provide an ID and sign a form that spells out our rules and the borrowing policy for the laptops.  When they return the device, we return the ID.

As for tablets, we do have an iPad that we use but don't allow patrons to use yet.  We purchased it to learn more about the eBook download process for iPads and also to be more familiar with new technologies.  We have eReaders on display in the library for patrons to look at and try out.  They are tethered to a desk with wire security cords that we purchased.  It is very similar to retail tethering equipment.  We've had no problem with them either.

We are now loaning our eReaders to patrons and have had only one problem with that, and it related to using it in the cold, not with theft or misuse.  We've been more careful to explain the dangers of using eReaders in extreme temperatures since that occurred and have labeled the devices as well.

Best of luck, I truly believe we must stay up with current technology if we are to be relevant to our patron's needs and desires.

Kristi Bryant
Reference and Technology Librarian
Wells Public Library
Wells, Maine  04090
207-646-8181 ext. 205
e-mail:  kbryant at

"Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one."  Neil Gaiman

From: Web technologies in libraries [mailto:WEB4LIB at LISTSERV.ND.EDU] On Behalf Of Murphy, Michael P.
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 5:16 PM
Subject: [WEB4LIB] Tablets and Laptops in the Public Library?

Greetings all,

I work as a Technology Services librarian at a small-to-medium sized public library, and my director is seeking to 'modernize' the library by employing the use of tablets and laptops as part of the PAC technologies. However, I have significant reservations about security and safety when it comes to using these devices in the public library, and my feelings are that purchasing newer desktops would be much more beneficial and practical. I know that each library is different and what works for some might not work for others, but can anyone share their experiences with using laptops and tablets in their particular library? Has it worked, or not? Maybe you have feelings similar to me and avoided it?

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

- Mike

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