Posted by: bluesyemre | April 26, 2016

#Libraries and early experiences of loaning #DigitalDevices: sharing good practice


The loaning of digital devices by public libraries has the potential to help tackle social and digital exclusion and improve digital literacy. For example, a recent study by the Tinder Foundation showed that people undertaking weekly digital skills training who did not have their own devices made better progress if they were able to borrow such devices and practice at home between sessions. The Libraries Taskforce are exploring how libraries could most effectively loan a variety of digital devices, by bringing together those who are actively loaning, or exploring loaning these devices.

This process identified a number of common themes. Firstly, tablets were the commonest devices being loaned – in fact no-one was lending laptops as there was no demand. A range of different tablets were being used, but the commonest were Ipads as these were perceived as being more intuitive to use. Some authorities were lending Kobo e-readers preloaded with free classics, but the general consensus was tablets could do this equally as well and also offered wider functionality.

Secondly, the devices were generally “unsupported”, ie. were not integrated with the authorities’ LMS/IT systems and generally lay outside of any service or maintenance agreements, mainly due to risk adverse corporate IT policies.

Thirdly, the devices were not on general loan but rather were targeted towards specific client groups (eg. housebound customers or reading groups). In part, this often reflected the fact the tablets were purchased with targeted funding.

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