Category Archives: iPods in Libraries?!?

Create, Play, Read – Lending Devices to Teens (PART 3)

Shirky, of course, advocates that we embrace “as much chaos as we can stand.” In this scenario, staff is encouraged to try out a new thing without regard to the way “it’s always been done.” This is messy, scary, and probably unwanted in most institutions. 

Ideas above are from:
Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky
Embracing Chaos by Michael Stephens

It has been a little over a month since we began our grand experiment with lending devices to teens (for the first post on this, go here.  for the second, go here) and I am here to check back in and follow up about the project with 100% honesty.

The Nook is still circulating and has a hold list.   The device has been loaned out, returned, and been taken well care of.  There hasn’t been as much interest in the Nook as there has been the iPod, but I think that’s to be expected with these types of devices and teens (for more on this, see Are Teens Embracing E-Books?)

The iPods have been lost.  They were lent out to two teens at the same time and like clockwork a week  later, they were gone.  The teens came into the library and told me about their story.  Both of them were using the device and let their friends borrow it to play a game and then their friends walked off with the iPod. I listened and explained to them that I understood where they were coming from but the fines for losing the device were staying on their card ($324).  I didn’t tell them outright that I was a bit sad by the loss (for the library, for the teens that wanted to borrow them, and for the teens that lost them…that’s a hefty fine), but I think they could see it in me.  Sometimes you don’t have to say much to get a message across.  Emotions are a heavy thing.

Am I bummed that this all happened?  Of course.  There’s a small part of me that’s sad about how it all went down, but there are two sides to every story.  The overall excitement that the teens had when they found out we’d be circulating these devices showed me that I was on the right track.  Sure, we lost two iPods, but you have to remember it’s just an iPod touch and not some one of a kind, priceless thing. I’m also happy that we tried something new, something out of the ordinary for our teens and we now have more experience for when we run this program again…and don’t get me wrong, we will try again.  I would be letting down the nine other teen patrons in the hold queue for the iPods if I didn’t.  In conclusion, this minor setback will not get me down.  I’ve seen many bigger successes – such as the one last week where one of my longtime teen patrons who just became a US citizen after being in this country for a few years – to put me down for the count.  Those are the things that matter.  An iPod touch?  Not so much.

What did I learn from this?

  • You’re gonna lose items…and it’s ok.  It’s all part of the learning process.  Libraries lose a lot of materials with high value – think about when an audiobook collection goes missing or a disc needs to be replaced in a multi item set.
  • The teens have to know that they’re responsible.  Fines may not be the best way to do this, but that’s a bigger issue for another time.
  • eBooks and teens?  There’s a limited audience.
  • Teens want to have an experience.

How will this work next time?

  • One of the observations I made with the teens that had borrowed the devices was that they were more into using YouTube and the web browser than they were using the apps.  A possible solution would be to limit access to YouTube and the web browser and limit the devices to what they were intended for: curated app experience devices
  • Credit checks/signed applications from parents/etc will not work no matter how hard you try to push this on teens.  Teens can barely keep track of what they’re going to do after school, let alone understand what signing a piece of paper means.  Perhaps a better way forward is for the people working with these teen patrons in the library to make individual calls on each lender.  It may be a good idea for those working in the teen library to take some time to sit down with the teens that potentially want to borrow these devices, show them what they can do, and explain in fuller detail what it means to be “selected” for this program.


I won’t call this program a failure.  I learned that there is a BIG demand for a specific kind of device (the iPods) and less of a demand for another (eReaders).  What the teens want is an experience they cannot get anywhere else. I plan on giving it to them.   I’ll make sure to check back in once our new iPods arrive in the next few months

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Create, Play, Read – Lending Devices to Teens (PART 2)

(for the first post in this series, please click here)

Once I had the idea for lending out iPods with pre-selected apps to teens, I had to do some investigating and thinking about how these devices would be used.

I would describe the iPods as “locked down”.  By that, I mean that the borrower can’t do much other than use the iPods for their library defined purpose (play or create) and use the internet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To access restrictions, visit your settings on your iPod.  Under the General tab, scroll down to find restrictions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once in the restrictions section, you will see a number of things that you can turn off for the user.  I turned off everything except for Safari, YouTube, and Camera.  This section is locked by a 4 digit passcode which the borrower does not have access to.

I’ve also decided to use Find My iPhone app as a means of locating the device as a last resort (if it goes missing, stolen, etc).  Find My iPhone relies on the borrower being in an area that has wifi, but also has an option which will notify the Apple account holder (the library) of the next time the iPod has connected to a wifi network.  I know that this will sound a bit “Minority Report/1984/we’re watching you and your every move”, but I assure you that this is not the point of using this app.  In order to keep our investment safe for other members our community to borrow, I decided that using Find My iPhone was in our best interest.  Luckily, we haven’t had to resort to using it yet and I hope we never have to, but if the need arises it will be there for us to use.

And finally, I’ve been asked the question “Do the teens have to sign some kind of agreement to take out the iPods?”  My answer to this question is…sort of.

While we do not have a print version of a lending agreement in place that the teens/parent/guardian has to sign, we do have a spiel that we do give the teens before we check them out to them.  It’s not the same every time, but it goes something like this:

Just so you know, but checking out iPod out is kind of a big deal.  If it gets damaged, lost, or stolen, you’re going to have quite a hefty fine on your library card that you will have to pay before you can use the library again.  So, if you’re ok with that and you can be responsible with the iPod, then you should totally borrow it.

We usually end this conversation with a funny secret society type of handshake.  My hope is that it resonates with the teens a lot more than signing some piece of paper.

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

Create, Play, Read – Lending Devices to Teens

We can talk all day about whether or not it’s a good idea to lend out devices to patrons, but in the end action is better than any kind of talk.  After listening to both sides of the lending devices story for a few weeks, I decided to say the heck with it and buy some Nooks and iPod Touches to lend out to my teen patrons.

My approach to lending out these devices was simple: sure, anyone can go out there and buy these devices and put whatever they want on them, but what about all of the cool stuff  they may overlook?  There’s so many great apps and games out there that there’s no way you could try them all.


I approached the devices as something that the teen library would “curate”.  The librarians of the future are also our community leaders.  They not only inform their communities, but they also teach, show, and introduce their communities to new things.  I took that approach when selected the apps and ebooks that would come loaded on each of these devices.  I also came up with a “brand” for the devices….PLAY, CREATE, AND READ SOMETHING.  It is my hope with the brand that people come to see the “____ SOMETHING” idea in the library as something unique that a library does not offer traditionally.


The criteria for selecting apps and ebooks was simple.  I asked myself “what would I want to experience on these devices?” and also “what could give someone who is borrowing this device the best experience possible?”  Each iPod came loaded with $50 in iTunes store credit, and for the Nooks I purchased $100 in ebooks (you can see the complete lists of what are on the devices below).
The program rolled out yesterday, so I don’t have any feedback to give yet, but I’ll make sure to follow up on this post soon.
Here are the details of each of these programs, what I loaded onto the devices, and more, please visit:

PLAY SOMETHING
CREATE SOMETHING
READ SOMETHING

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

LiB on Music in Libraries – “we’re doing it wrong”

http://librarianinblack.net/librarianinblack/2010/09/music-in-libraries-were-doing-it-wrong.html

I’ve been meaning to post a link to this incredible post by the Librarian in Black. I’ll be using it in my classes from now on as a perfect overview of what’s happening with downloadable music in libraries. If you haven’t read it, be sure to do so and don’t miss the comments. For example:

Overdrive & Alexander Street Music are very similar.  Overdrive users download a music file in a DRM-protected format that will self-encrypt and be unreadable after the designated circulation period (e.g. 3 weeks). Update: Alexander Street Music offers -streaming- access to classical, jazz, and folk. And sadly, the selection is not what most of our users want.  Most people aren’t looking for classical and folk music.  Libraries with these services get very poor use of them (according to my anecdotal discussions with other eResources managers), and frankly, I personally don’t think they’re worth the money we pay for them.  Check your usage stats and do a cost per use calculation.  You’re likely to find you might be paying $5/song.  Ri-freaking-diculous.

Freegal is very different.  The songs are popular ones with a lot of well-known artists in different genres like rock, R&B, and country.  And in a lovely change of pace, the songs are provided as DRM-free MP3s!  But — and I stress the but — the library can only offer these in a very limited fashion because of cost.  The library pays for the number of downloads per year they want to fund.  Then divide that by 52, and there’s your weekly cap.  If you hit the cap, then no users can download anything else for the rest of the week.  As a result, Freegal suggests that you limit the number of songs any one user can download in one week.  For our library in San Jose, that number is 3.  Yep, you get only 3 songs per week, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to log on before we hit our weekly cap. Update/Clarification: SJPL no longer has a weekly cap. So if you want to download an actual album, you have to calendar yourself to come back for at least 4 weeks to get one single album.  How many users are going to do that?  For us to pay for enough songs for our users to access a full album per week, we’d need to spend approximately $500,000 per year.  And that’s not happening, nor should it in my opinion.  That’s a ridiculous proposition for a collection budget.  Is this token offering of popular online music to our users enough to interest them and an attempt at a successful model, or does it merely show that libraries are clueless once again about what our users really want with digital formats?  Again, please check out the cost per use of the service and I can just about guarantee you it’s costing you more to offer songs via Freegal to your users than it would to simply buy them the songs they want directly from iTunes, Amazon, or whatever other service they use. But what other choices do we have?  To do nothing. And that stinks too.

I have never had much interest or faith in what the library vendors are trying to sell libraries to compete with iTunes, Amazon or the like. Most of the time, I consider my music/content consumption as if I were  a consumer, not a librarian. I want things to work and work well. Yes, I admit to my Apple fanboy status but it works for me.  I’ve been well-served by my iTunes and Amazon account for many years. These days Hulu+, Netflix streaming and my satellite dish are serving my consumption needs nicely as I mend my fractured bones.  I’m so happy SJCPL went the iPod route a few years ago. I also tried to use  an iPhone app for downloadable content and never had success accessing the collections at my library. If it’s hard to use, limited in weird ways or doesn’t have “interesting to me” content, I’m gone. iTunes and Amazon fit the bill very nicely – as do the actual physical CDs I purchase from a very small number of artists.

Because I’m no longer working in libraries everyday, I’m glad folks like Sarah are actively sharing their insights with our community. It benefits me as an educator and it will surely benefit librarians who may be considering one of the services or options out there. I hope we can continue thinking, talking and sharing about this issue.

Thomas Brevik on iPad

Thomas and I have worked together at Internet Librarian International 2008 and back in the day doing a podcast or two about Library 2.0. He’s one of the good thinkers in LIS who I wish I had more of a chance to sit with and talk. Glad to see his take on the iPad this morning.

http://lib1point5.wordpress.com/2010/02/01/ipad-and-libraries-some-thoughts/

For libraries the iPad will have little immediate impact. What it probably will do, if it is a hit in the marketplace, is that it will fuel reader demand for e-books. I predict that it will be a slow development, but maybe too fast for many librarians. When the demand for e-books is for Nora Roberts latest romance novel, rather than some science fiction blockbuster or main stream popular science non-fiction, and the person wanting the e-book is the harassed mother with three kids running around her at the library desk, then e-books will have arrived in the library. This could happen if the iPad really hits it off with the public.

For libraries there are two main challenges:

1. How do we get content from the library to the iPad and similar devices, and can libraries use iBook or the AppStore as a delivery method? I think there will be several opportunities, and that binding libraries to a cooperation with Apple to get in through the iBook store probably will be difficult and even counterproductive. There are at least two avenues to go, either create an international LibraryBook app (open source of course), that will work on any operating system, or cooperate with the creators of any of the open source apps that are out there to deliver books through them. Both avenues has their pros- and cons, but I believe that to secure a future for the library brand it would be a good idea to develop a special library app.

2. Will the iPad and iPad like devices  change the media habits of readers? Very likely. The iPod and iPhone has both changed a lot of behaviour and expectations from library users, and how other devices are viewed and used. I expect to see increasing demand for content on tablets from readers and probably pressure on the library to deliver certain types of content, i.e. ebooks.

I’m looking forward to getting my hands on an iPad and try it out in my library.

So am I – to try it out with my students and colleagues at Dominican.

LIS768 Group Projects Day 2

The New Digital Divide

This group explored the New Digital Divide.

Pew: The Mobile Difference

http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/5-The-Mobile-Difference–Typology.aspx

  • 8% of adults use mobile devices and broadband platforms for continual information exchange to collaborate with their social networks
  • 7% of adults actively use mobile devices and social networking tool, yet are ambivalent about all the connectivity
  • 8% of Americans find mobility lighting their information pathways, but have comparatively few tech assets at home
  • 16% of adults are active conduits of content and information for
  • 61% are anchored to stationary media; though many have broadband and cell phones, coping with access is often too much for them
  • How to Manage Your iPod Class

    Rick Roche writes:

    I had several surprises:

    • I expected audiobooks to be a primary interest with the group because we promote iPod books that we circulate from the reference desk. Music, however, was the primary interest of this group. Only a couple had borrowed our iPods for the audiobooks. Several did express interest in the audiobooks once they had heard of them.
    • No one had listened to a podcast. Most had seen the folder on the iTunes software but did not know what it meant. The group was surprised to learn that podcasts are free to download.
    • I had a slideshow to use as an introduction but I hardly used it, as questions and discussions started right away. We spent most of the time actively involved with iPods and iTunes.

    Are other libraries doing classes like this?

    Are iPod Banning Schools Cheating Our Kids?

    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9018594

    So many college students I’ve met — even at some of the nation’s top universities — are there because they have an aptitude for memorization. Many straight-A high school students have few interests, little curiosity and zero inclination toward intellectual discovery. Our system rewards the memorizers and punishes the creative thinkers.

     

    An iPod, when used during tests, is nothing more than a machine that stores and spits out data. By banning iPods and other gadgets, we’re teaching kids to actually become iPods — to become machines that store and spit out data. Instead, we should be teaching them to use iPods — to use that data and to be human beings who can think — and leave data storage to the machines.

     

    By banning iPods, we’re preparing our kids for a world without the Internet, a world without iPods, a world without electronic gadgets that can store information. But is that the world they’re going to live in?

    Let me pull out a bit of the above for emphasis:

    Many straight-A high school students have few interests, little curiosity and zero inclination toward intellectual discovery. Our system rewards the memorizers and punishes the creative thinkers.

    That nearly knocked me off my chair. Who do we want eventually running our libraries? Rote memorizers or creative thinkers. To me, the answer is obvious and as I prepare for my third year of full time teaching, I see where the emphasis should be.