Tablets in Your Library
Tablets in Your Library – in Polish libraries, people have access to and learn how to use mobile technologies
The "Tablets in Your Library" project is a part of the Library Development Program, an undertaking which supports public libraries throughout Poland in performing their roles as local civic activity centers (in 2009-2015 the Program was implemented in partnership with the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation).
The main objective of the project was to enable access to mobile technologies by making available tablets in libraries – particularly in small localities – so that people could use them in order to "create, learn and share". First a pilot implementation of the project was run in 7 libraries, during which librarians were testing the equipment (Apple iPad Air tablets with accessories and applications selected in collaboration with a group of experts - educators) and examining the residents' needs. Then – taking into account the results of the pilot – the whole project was prepared and 318 libraries were selected in a nationwide competition.
Libraries have received between three and six tablets with accessories (incl. a scriber, headphones with a microphone, protective foil, frame, and control and indicating equipment), as well as a two-year insurance. A set of applications provided with the tablets contained tools designed to "create, learn and share", such as iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, Drawing Desk, Hopscotch, Instagram, Vine, or Google Earth. In each library taking part in the project a coordinator, the so-called ‘Tablet Master' was appointed. ‘Tablet Masters' have formed a professional network of innovative librarians who are not afraid to experiment and implement new ICT services in their communities. ‘Tablet Masters' were trained together during the project, but they are also sharing experience on their own and inspiring each other by means of social media (e.g. on their Facebook group).
Special training sessions for librarians have been conducted within the project, also in the form of webinars – interactive online lectures. They were devoted to various aspects of the project, like tablet deliveries, technical issues, applications, copyright etc. Educational materials related to the use of tablets have also been posted on the Apple's iTunes U platform as a publicly available course "Tablets in Libraries". Moreover, together with a cooperating NGO a manual was prepared about the organization of the library space where the tablets were offered.
In total, the libraries received 1,262 tablets. They are used by residents on the library premises (in numerous library branches, often the locations are being changed in turn), both for individual use and during regular workshops dedicated to specific applications or types of activity (such as making videos, taking pictures, drawing, coding, using Augmented Reality technology etc.). The most frequent users of tablets are children and young adults, but the service is also popular among seniors for whom tablets in libraries are very often the first occasion to see mobile devices, learn how to use them and get acquainted with benefits they provide.
Contact person: Agnieszka Koszowska
Stakeholder in charge: Information Society Development Foundation