There will be 80 Leap Pad Ultra Learning Tablets for children ages 2 to about 6 or 7, and 50 Google Nexus 7 tablets for everyone else, with an ability to add 50 more of the latter if customer demand warrants it.
The two programs are called Tablets4Tots and Tablets2Go.
"So we can be providing book after book, magazine services, online databases, homework help for kids," he said. " But if you aren't in touch with the devices, it really doesn't affect you."
He said he expects three different kinds of customers to line up for the tablets: Those who don't have computers for themselves or their children at home, those who want to try out a computer tablet to see if they like it enough to buy one, and those who want to use the tablet inside the library or at a coffee shop or a park rather so they are not pinned down at computer station at a desk in the library.
"This is where the world's tech is going," Pasicznyuk said. "And we're squarely just staying in the same mission that we were in before, which is providing access to content and to the Internet."
Pasicznyuk said some libraries do have a small number of e-readers and computer tablets to lend out.
However, Pasicznyuk said he and his staff have identified only the public library in
A key driving force for the
"Computers for kids today are like pencils -- something they just use," he said.
That is the sentiment, too, that prompted the
"We feel strongly as an organization that literacy leads to meeting educational goals, and meeting educational goals leads to avenues out of poverty," said Worden, program coordinator of Workplace Learning Connection at
The Tablets4Tots program will give prekindergarten children hands-on experience accessing educational programming with a computer device to prepare them "for the rigors of what the new kindergarten is all about," she said.
"We know if kids have success in those first five years of life, when it comes to the love of learning, they just have much better outcomes," she said.
The library's Pasicznyuk said the 80 Leap Pad tablets for young children cost
The Leap Pads will be kept on a shelf near where a library staff member routinely works, while the
Pasicznyuk said both tablets come with hard cases, foam lining and protective sleeves for the tablets so they can endure the rigors of being deposited in a book drop or dropped on the kitchen floor, he said.
"I've yet to meet the mom and dad who said, 'I'm going down to the library to steal a couple of books,'" he said. "They don't do that. They tend to be here to advantage their kids, not to steal us blind."
For now, library patrons will be able to check out the tablets for a week at a time. The Leap Pads have applications for drawing and reading and playing games while those using the Google Nexus 7s will need to download material from the library before they leave or from another Wi-Fi location.
The library in
The library since has added six iPad Minis to its stable of tablets.
"One of the biggest questions at the beginning, and we weren't too sure of, either, was people thought, 'My God, you're going to lend this expensive device to the public, and they're not going to return it, they're going to break it,'" Stoneberg said.
In two and half years and after many hundreds of circulations of the iPads, the
Stoneberg said some of those who check out the iPads are those who can't afford a computer at home, but some are those who can but don't want to spend the money, while others are getting acquainted with the device to seek if they want to buy one.
"It's been a very good project for the library and good for the way or customers thought about the library," he said. "We didn't have the problems we thought we were going to have."
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