According a new report released today by the Pew Research Center, for the first time, one-third of Americans age 18 and older own a tablet computer. The report indicates that tablet usage has grown rapidly over the past two years, from 8% in May 2011, to 18% in April 2012, to the 34% of American adults using tablets today. As adoption of tablets picks up speed, people in our communities are looking for integration of library programs and services with these and other mobile devices. Adept tablet users expect library workers will be as up to speed with these devices as they are, and new tablet users expect that we’ll be able to show them how their tablets work and help them get started.
Whether your library has already taken the plunge into offering tablet-friendly services like e-book and e-audiobook lending, library apps and the like, or whether you’re just beginning to think about getting started with tablets, e-resources, and mobile services, now is a great time to get up to speed on the different types of devices that are popular with people in your community.
To further this end, the North Dakota State Library is now lending Tech Toolkits to libraries in North Dakota. These kits contain some of the most popular devices in use today, including the iPad, Kindle Fire HD, and Google Nexus 7, among others. These kits will give your library staff members the opportunity for hands-on experience with these devices, helping them to become familiar and comfortable with them, and to learn how they’re set up, how to navigate them, and the main capabilities and uses of each. The kits loan out for three weeks, and also include guides, tutorials and instructions to help users get started. If you’re interested in checking out a Tech Toolkit for your library, contact your NDSL Field Services representative.
If you’d like more information on tablets and other mobile devices on the market right now, Endgadget and CNET have great resources, articles, and reviews – check out Engadget’s Spring 2013 tablet buyer’s guide, or take a look at collected articles and information about tablets on CNET at http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/. Additionally, the free online learning site GCF LearnFree offers an iPad Basics course that has great, simple, step by step information on how to get started with the iPad.
As adoption of tablets continues to rise, it becomes increasingly important for libraries to be prepared to respond to the demand for services and expertise that will inevitably rise along with it. For further assistance or information, contact your friendly, tech-savvy NDSL Field Services representative. We’re happy to answer any questions or help you get started!