On Developing iPad Programming: Part II, by Cindy Wall
Introducing iPads into your library programming expands the opportunity for creativity and learning for both you and the children who attend your programming. When beginning anything new, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. This post deals with what some librarians feel is the biggest hurdle to overcome: technology.
Even librarians with personal iPhones or iPads question their ability to handle library iPads, especially in large numbers. One librarian found me shortly after my speech and asked, “Once I buy the iPads, what exactly do I do to set them up?” I explained that she had to download iTunes and open an iTunes account. Next, she should plug in each iPad and sync it. Up to ten iPads can be synced to one computer, and the iTunes account associated with that computer, at no additional cost.
A common misconception surrounds the apps themselves. I found that many librarians believe that the apps are only on the iPad. You can sync any app onto the iPad, but in actuality, the apps “live” in iTunes. You sync them onto and off of your iPad as needed. When you delete an app from the iPad, you don’t have to repurchase it. The app remains in iTunes. When I present eTots, I sync early literacy apps onto the iPads. When my co-worker presents her class for 9-12 year olds, she doesn’t want the children distracted by Elmo and Dora, so I remove the early literacy apps. It isn’t hard to remove or add an app; it just requires you sync the iPad. Remember to leave yourself enough time between classes to do just that.
Other technology questions focus on updating the apps and operating system. To me, the updates were the biggest surprise in working with iPads. There are a lot of updates and I have to take the time to open iTunes and click through a series of options to update. It isn’t taxing and is free of charge, but does take a little time as you must update each iPad individually. However, once you’ve told iTunes to update your apps, it will do so in the background and you are free to use your computer. For those libraries with a larger budget, a powersync tray or powersync cart is available, at $1000 and up, to perform the updates automatically. Rumor has it that the next generation of iPads may automatically update themselves. Now, that would be something!
Many questioned the specifics of the iPads I purchased for our library. I purchased wi-fi only iPads with 32 GBs of storage. This is enough storage space to load anything you want onto the iPads. If your library has wi-fi, there is no need to incur the extra expense of an iPad with a data plan. The library purchased CaseCrown iPad covers for each iPad. They are relatively inexpensive and have lasted for more than 2 years.
Now, your iPads are loaded with apps, what are you going to do with them? My next post will cover how to begin adding apps to programming, programming ideas, and whether or not you should circulate the iPads in between programs.Cindy is the head of Children’s Services at Southington Library and Museum in Southington, CT. She has been creating iPad programming for two years and has recently taken to the podium to spread the word about the joys of integrating apps into programming for children of all ages. While Cindy enjoys the traditional duties of a librarian (collection development, reader’s advisory, reference and more), she loves the challenge of creating new, innovative programming.