Wisconsin Library Lending Out iPads


The iPad is more and more becoming part of people’s daily life.  While many libraries lend out e-books for those that already have a tablet or e-reader, Eau Claire Wisconsin library is beginning to lend out iPads.

The library got a grant from the Presto Foundation to help pay for the tablets and said it chose the iPad from among the digital options because of its versatility in providing more access to library-related content than an e-reader-only device.

The library has 44 iPads that were purchased with a grant.  32 of those iPads can be lent out to the library’s users for up to seven days while six other iPads will stay in the library building but can be used by patrons for up to four hours at a time.  The remaining six iPads are to be lent out to patrons who are at home for medical reasons.

Each of the iPads will have 1,000 eBooks available to read, loaded by the library’s staff, along with 10 audiobooks and a number of free iPad apps. Users will be able to download content and apps for the iPad on their own during the seven day lending period but when the iPad is returned to the library its staff will restore the tablet to its original state, wiping out anything that the user might have downloaded.

The goal of the iPad lending program is to provide library customers with opportunities to gain familiarity and comfort with new technology that allows them to make use of alternative methods of enjoying the written and spoken word and to more fully explore the Internet and its vast resources.

The library is offering tablets with four-hour loan periods in the library and has other iPads that are being offered on a 7-day take home loan.  To borrow the iPad, the user needs a valid library card and must be at least 18. An overdue iPad will cost the user $10 per day and there is no grace period. There is also another $25 fine if the iPad is returned by any other method than directly to the library staff.  If the iPad is lent out and then broken or damaged by the user, the borrower will be liable for as much as $1,020 to replace the iPad and accessories.

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Presto Foundation, library users will be able to stay up-to-date on the latest technology without paying hundreds of dollars.


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