Library launches new tablet-lending program
Heights Libraries began an Android tablet-loaning pilot project in April at its Lee Road branch. If the program proves popular, it will be expanded to the library system’s Coventry, Noble, and University Heights branches.
The new lending program is a free service that allows cardholders to check out an Android tablet device for up to seven days.
It is one of the ways that Heights Libraries is trying to bridge the “digital divide,” the gap between necessary technology and those who have trouble accessing it.
“While people can use public computers at the library again, they still have to keep their masks on, which makes things like virtual meetings and job interviews difficult,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “And our public computers have time limits, which makes it difficult for users who need extended time for projects or online events. Tablets are a simple solution, since they are lightweight and very easy to use. It’s basically a small laptop that you can take home with you.”
The tablets enable users to browse the Internet, meet with others online, work, or look for work via installed apps. Heights Libraries’ tablets are 4G connected, so can be used in any area covered by the Verizon 4G LTE network. They also come with a Bluetooth-connected keyboard, in case users need to do extensive typing.
Tablet borrowers must be 18 or older, with a library card in good standing. They are limited to checking out one device at a time. The first time one borrows a tablet, the customer will receive a document detailing the parameters of the borrowing program. Borrowers are responsible for costs associated with the loss or damage of the tablets and their accessories. Overdue fees will not be charged, but the tablet will be disabled if it is not returned on the due date.
A hold can be placed on a tablet by calling the Lee Road branch at 216-932-3600, or speaking with staff at any Heights Libraries location. Customers are notified when their tablet hold is available. Once notified, customers have two days (48 hours) to check out the tablet before the hold is cancelled.
Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.