Mobile Devices Event – Public Libraries Victoria Network ICT Special Interest Group – Thursday 16th May

Here are my notes from this recent event.

Tech tool kit – Georgie Nicholson – Melbourne Library Service

They bought the equipment from a grant. Got 4 each Toshiba Laptops, Samsung Slate PCs, Sony eReaders, iRiver eReaders, Kobo eReaders, (2 different models), iPad 2s, iPod touches, Kobo Voxes and Samsung Galaxy Tablets. Ten devices with 11 digital products including Overdrive, Freading and Gutenberg Project eBooks; Freegal, Naxos and Music Online music; Bolinda, One Click, Overdrive, Naxos and Tumblebooks audiobooks and OI and Zinio periodicals and reference.

The kit was a good reflection of what was happening in their community. Bit of ‘wild west’ out there – not collaborative in a not mature market, some devices will disappear in the coming year.

Showed a compatibility chart. Not all apps worked well on mobile devices – most products worked best with and aimed mostly at PCs.

The equipment had been purchased but nothing had really been done with it. So they tagged them and put catalogue records for each device into their LMS. Staff booked them out to play with. One problem is that devices are changing so quickly and what you have learnt to use is superseded or no longer exists.

They have a troubleshooting. guide but lot of the problems were answered by the compatibility sheet.

Adobe accounts were a problem (for their digital products), as six devices could be registered to an Adobe account. This required them to sign up for and manage multiple accounts. Also needed to manage the Internet enabled devices as well, including the installation and configuration of apps and the authorisation of devices.

They underestimated the time needed to configure and test all the devices. Needed to make sure they worked well, so as not to put off staff before they began.

After 6 months testing, they did staff training in both their digital resources and Tech Tool Kit. This is ongoing, so they also want to include self-guided training with the Kit, but this has not been completed yet.

They are also looking to create some content of their own to use on mobile devices eg. audiotours, Historypin.

Tania Barry – Yarra Plenty – iTots

Yarra Plenty have created a Reading and Literacy Framework. As part of this process, which involved community consultation, a number of literacy programs were created. The community wanted the library to take a larger role in the development of pre-school literacy, which was the motivation for the iTots program.

They chose iPads because at time they were more familiar, easy to use and had a great range of apps.

The pilot program ran in 2012- and it showed the fun that could be had. Libraries are at forefront of promoting literacy, usually with books, but the pilot showed that digital devices could be valuable in developing literacy.

The program ran with 10 iPads, pre-loaded with a range of toddler apps – drawing, puzzles, picture books – some were free (and so had advertisements) so they had to assess the ads for suitability. It was hard to assess who was having more fun, the children or the adults. They bought apps that could be loaded on multiple devices, as long as they were associated with the one Apple ID.

The first program ran over 4 weeks and covered the topics of letters, numbers, creating content and explore. There were problems though with people missing sessions. In 2013, a new model is being trialled. It runs monthly for an hour with 10 themes for the year. The host demonstrates an interactive picture book via the 42 inch tv screen as part of the program. After the structured part, there is a free play session with the iPads. The program is now running twice a month and they have added 3 iPads, but they still have a waiting list of participants.

Program Positives – children enjoying the interaction, parents are interacting with their children, responses are immediate and children are developing visual spatial skills.

Parents really appreciated discovering good apps for their children that they could get for their own devices and use at home.

There is a definite demand for more sessions and they hope to structure some more in to their library programs calendar.

She recommends that the program is held in the children’s area. Ten children participated in each session as that is how many devices they had. They may open to people bringing their own devices, if they come with the appropriate apps pre-loaded. (at their own cost if required)

iPads telling a story – Tara Hossack – Ballarat

Using the Animoto app and website and iMovie, the worked with young people to create stories.

You need to create an account on Animoto. Its free, but with a paid subscription you get more functionality.

They gave iPads to young people and asked them to take photos that showed what the library meant to them. You create a video by choosing your pictures, selecting a background image and inserting text where you like – up to 120 characters. You can edit it as much as you want and then share the videos to Facebook and YouTube or just save as a file.

Apart from the young people, they have also used it for staff to share what they consider inspirational, for promoting events eg. writing workshop. Also great for Mothers Day.

iMovie for Macs, iPhones, iPads were first used for the local heritage festival last year. The team practised with staff before filming on heritage weekend. At the heritage festival they worked with with a theme of ‘I remember that’. They had 20 questions broken into 4 themes consisting of 5 questions. They then edited the answers into one thematic video.

They used the iPhone headphones microphone to record, which resulted in good sound quality for 38 out of 40 people interviewed. The process was to interview 10 people, then edit the resulting video in around 15 minutes. It was later uploaded to YouTube and all videos were available for viewing the next day.

Posture was an issue for staff in recording – holding either the iPad or the microphone in a stable consistent position, but they had a great time listening to the stories.

People asked about the app they were using, so they could get it for themselves. It was a great experience for staff development and community engagement.

Lesley Sharples – eReader lending – Moonee Valley

They didn’t yet have eBooks for loan, but decided that the technology would be the biggest stumbling block, so aimed at education around the devices, before eBook lending came in.

The project aimed to give borrowers a chance to try the technology before they bought their own, or had their own devices. Borrowers were encouraged to give it a try by having each device preloaded with three new popular titles. The first stage was rolled out house with a display of all the devices – which rotated through their branches and were accompanied by weekly drop in sessions. Once each drop in session ended, borrowers could borrow a device for two hours in house.

The project started in September 2012. Drop in sessions were packed, so they added more staff and restricted the numbers of people who could attend the sessions. Interestingly, no-one under the age of 50 attended the drop in sessions.

They added Project Gutenberg content to each device, but each device had individual titles purchased for them as well. They explored different apps, Overdrive and Bolinda as services etc.

As they laws regarding lending such devices and content is fuzzy, the use of the devices in-house only ensured that they were covered legally.

The second stage of the project involved – public lending of the devices. Every borrower signed an agreement form, paid a $20 deposit and was made aware of the overdue fines (which never had to be applied). All the devices were stored in kits, catalogued and tagged. A clear policy was created, all procedures were made clear and available at the desk and all staff were trained. They made sure to give as much information as they could, to make it as straightforward as possible for both staff and borrowers.

The devices were promoted via flyers and brochures, the library website, their libguides, social media (including Pinterest) and at community events the library attended.

The lending program went live in November 2012 – there are currently 64 holds to be filled and they have already had 90 loans with no overdue returns and no damage to any of the devices. The overwhelming feedback has been that the devices were borrowed to explore the device, not to read the content.

They are now looking at creating themed ereaders, eg. Mystery, romance – inspiration they got from Hamilton Library in New Zealand. There is also potential for use of these devices in Home Library Service, with the vision impaired and for LOTE. Also book groups and storytimes.

They are launching Overdrive soon – their first ebook lending service and will draw back on lending after the launch. The only statistics they have are on the borrowing of the devices, not on the reading of the titles on those devices.

Adam Hornsey – Geelong – iPad lending in the library

When they opened a new library at Waurn Ponds it came equipped with iPads and ereaders for loan in the library. Two hour loans. Deposit required in form of keys, wallet, licence.

Have not gone great – average 23 loans a month. The project was done in a hurry so they didn’t set objectives. First lesson was to ensure they changed the mindsets of staff before beginning – there was resistance from early one. The devices are still there, despite some people’s expectations and they have only lost one – due to screen fuzziness from being bashed against child’s sibling’s head.

It has been an issue for the technical services staff to keep the devices updated – it has all been done centrally. However, as the project expands, this task will be farmed back to the branches.

As they move forward, there are things that they will do different, including better promotion, better display in the branch and theming the iPad content eg. 10 set up for adults, 5 for kids, 5 for teens. Would also relook at whether users could download apps. This could be time intensive for staff, in checking that accounts arent left logged in etc.

They have Airwatch Mobile Device Management System for their devices and are looking at using it for more than security for these devices – it will enable the push out of updates, and if device walks, you can check the device location but can also do a remote wipe.

Have to get staff on board if the project is to succeed.

iPads are locked down and iTunes is removed by Airwatch.

Whole project under review. 20 ereaders are not moving at all. Number of factors as to why the program is not working.

Tom Edwards – Wyndham and Anthony Woodward – Geelong – Library box.

Library box is a tiny portable DIY portable library, cheap, anonymous, wireless router. Tom had created one, preloaded with several of the morning’s presentations and we took the opportunity to log in with your mobile devices and download content.

He suggested how they could be used, including having library e-books available for download from every carriage of every train in Victoria. To do this on V-Line trains alone would cost around $5000 for the library boxes – amazingly cheap investment for such a service.


The afternoon was spent in an unconference format. The topics covered were:

  • Staff training/troubleshooting
  • Mobile accessible websites
  • Locked down equipment/security
  • Library box
  • Local history
  • eContent

but I unfortunately was too busy coordinating to take any more notes….. 🙁