North Texas Daily

Library purchases e-readers for student use

Library purchases e-readers for student use

January 15
21:24 2013

Rance Yordy / Intern

To assist students in accessing online content like digital textbooks, the UNT library system has purchased multiple tablets that can be checked out by students.

Ten iPads, five iPad Minis and seven Kindle Fires were purchased after the university was awarded $10,000 last September by the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Sian Brannon, the Assistant Dean for Collection Management at the UNT libraries, said the grant was awarded for the marketing, staff time, and tablets required for this project.

“When the call for grant proposals came out, we saw we could use money to try a new service,” Brannon said. “UNT provides lots of e-content, but no e-readers. The bookstore also informed me that it doesn’t sell many electronic textbooks.”

Each tablet can be checked out for an entire semester. The tablets became available to students on Jan. 10, and all of them have been checked out.

Brannon said that the 22 tablets are acting as a type of test for which type is most popular among students, and it will determine if the library system continues e-reader checkouts in the future.

“People have different accessibility needs and preferences, and we needed to provide an option for everyone,” Brannon said.

Suzanne Sears, the assistant dean for public services at the UNT Libraries, also applied for the grant. She said the UNT Libraries are constantly trying to think outside the box and enhance students’ experiences, and said she’s never heard of another university that offers this service.

“Tablets offer more convenience in general,” Sears said. “Although e-books cost around the same as physical books, they’re lighter and you can highlight in them without worrying about damaging the book.”

The library system isn’t the only department on campus to use the portable convenience of tablets. Last October, the College of Business purchased 170 iPads for faculty and students.

Associate dean for technology and operations Cengiz Capan said iPads were purchased instead of laptops because of their portable compatibility.

Tablet checkout relies on the honor system, and students must sign a paper promising to use the reader as an educational tool. Students are responsible for the tablet and must pay for any damage sustained. They are also responsible for the cases that come with the tablets.

“The only thing I dislike about my Kindle Fire is that I can’t take it in the bathtub,” Sears said. “It would be toast.”

The growing popularity of e-books may seem exciting, but some believe this will result in the disappearance of libraries altogether. However, neither Brannon nor Sears believe textbooks will become obsolete anytime soon.

“This may become a problem in the future, but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime,” Sears said. “There’s just something about the printed word.”

A waiting list may exist later on in the semester, just in case a tablet is returned early. The readers will also be available for checkout in the summer semester.

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1 Comment

  1. Nikki
    Nikki January 17, 23:00

    I think that it is a great idea to make this technology available to all students. Outstanding use of funds, and I was very impressed that UNT is pioneering this project. I look forward to feed back given at semester’s end from the students who participated in using the school’s new tools.
    I also found the article to be well written and very interesting. Great job UNT DAILY.

    Reply to this comment

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