The kits include an iPad 2 that has been pre-loaded with apps geared towards ages 2 to 5, a guide to using digital technology with children, an annotated list of the selected apps, general information on early literacy skills, and tips for parents on selecting quality apps for kids. The kits also include a liability form with a breakdown of the cost of the entire kit (the iPad itself, the case, the canvas bag it circulates in.) The liability form basically asks the patron to acknowledge that they are taking responsibility for the kit and should it be lost, broken, or simply not returned, their library card will be charged the full amount (roughly $650.)
Some libraries require their patrons to leave credit card information. Since our library policy stipulates that only equipment costing $1000 or more requires a credit card, we do not take this information when circulating the Early Literacy iPad kits. In the event that a kit is lost or broken, we would charge their library account. It would, essentially, be like having a very large library fine. Every library is different, so in your case you may want to ask your director or board what policies govern the circulation of high ticket items. You may or may not have to take credit info.
Fortunately for us (knock wood!) we have not yet lost a kit. We did recently have one of our iPads malfunction. It was still covered under the warranty and Apple replaced it at no cost to us.
Head of Children’s Services
There is yet another great discussion happening on the ALSC Listserv. Someone asked for information from libraries who have already implemented a circulating early literacy iPad project. Lindsay Huth, Early Literacy Specialist at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library has added her library’s experience to the list. I’m going to develop a section just for circulating iPads projects with examples of successful projects.
See below for Lindsay’s details:
We circulate iPads at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. The Darien Library was a great resource for us as we developed this collection. We have 10 circulating iPads in Kids’ World and one tablet for library use only.
The iPads are pre-loaded with apps for ages 2 to 14 and apps for children with special needs, such as Tap to Talk. We include an annotated list of apps and directions on the basics of how to use the iPad. Our kit includes:
Big Grip Frame: $35.00
Cord bag: $5.00
App info: $2.00
A customer must have an Arlington Heights Library card to check out the iPad. The only information we take is their library barcode. There is no age-restriction. The packaging on the case notes that the customer will be responsible for full replacement costs. The iPads check out for 1 week with a $0.25 a day late fee. The iPad for library use only can be checked out for two hours. We limit to one iPad per card. When they are checked in, our IT team figured out a quick and easy way for us to plug them in, wipe out data from the previous customer, and restore our default settings.
Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions. There were quite a few logistics to figure out with this collection but it’s been well worth it! The customers have really enjoyed them.
Early Literacy Specialist
Arlington Heights Memorial Library