It was a time-intensive project from start to finish. So, to make it easier for readers and myself, I'm going to divide this into three sections– Planning, Picking Apps, and Final Steps. Hopefully, these posts will make it easier for other libraries to implement iPads!
I have to give many thanks to all of the wonderful people who helped me through this process. Kelsey over at Library Bonanza was a wonderful resource. Her blog post is full of fabulous information and she answered every single question I put in front of her. There were also numerous people I reached out to through list-servs. Thank you to everyone for all of your great answers and support!
PlanningDeciding on which tablet to use was the easiest part of this process. I was familiar with iPads and after a little research decided they would give us the most return for our money. Plus, I asked a lot of the fabulous people in the library world what they had and almost everyone answered iPad.
First, we had to decide how many iPads we realistically needed for our 3 libraries. All of our iPad money was raised through various community donors, so we had a very strict budget of what we could spend. After looking at our space and resources, we decided to install 1 iPad at each branch and 2 at the Main location.
Next, we had to decide on where to actually put the iPads. We wanted them to be within our line of sight, but we also didn't want to get 1,000 questions a day about them. We currently have AWE computers directly behind our desk and people immediately yell for help when they are stuck. I'm a big believer in self-guidance and didn't want to have the same issue with the iPads. We eventually decided to put the iPads directly in our Early Literacy Center. It is far enough away that we can't hear every word that is being said, but we still can see everything they're doing. Plus, one of our security cameras looks directly into the space.
Finally, we had to decide on which display case to purchase. We knew we wanted them to be directly mounted on the wall, but we weren't sure about movement, security, etc. After asking about 15 different people, I chose to go with this one from Maclocks. It seemed to be the most durable, had the best reviews, and was reasonably priced. We also decided to purchase a heavy-duty screen protector. The thing about iPad stands is that they are all kind of awful. Almost every librarian I reached out to said, "We chose this one but it can be difficult/hard/impossible at times." We decided to just bite the bullet and hope for the best with our purchase.
We were semi-successful. The stand is secure and mounts on the wall beautifully. However, the home button isn't really fully covered– little fingers can definitely still hit it. Plus, there was no cut-out for headphones. Luckily, our brave maintenance man drilled one for us that was just barely big enough to fit a Y-splitter in. We wanted each iPad to have 2 sets of headphones, since one of our main goals is to increase parent and child interaction.
When we got the case set-up it was really difficult to close. With the addition of the Y-splitter it became almost impossible. It felt like you were breaking the iPad when you squeezed to lock it up. We needed the Y-splitter though! No one wanted to listen to annoying iPad noises all day, right? (Hint: We no longer use headphones.)
Check back on Thursday to see how I chose which apps to put on the iPads in the room!