TRY 2012: Mobile Device Loans at the Library


  • Mandissa Arlain – RULA
  • Monique Flaccavento – OISE Library, UTL
  • Ricardo Laskaris – YorkU Libraries
  • Fangmin Wang – RULA
  • Jenaya Webb – OISE Library, UTL

Loaning Device

  • Laptops
  • iPads (with covers & cables) at OISE
  • York also provides many other gadgets & accessories
  • most 4 hour loans (York 1-4 days), restricted to university community


  • posters
  • social media: twitter, facebook, blog
  • LCD screens
  • website
  • branding of bags


  • iPad > laptop at OISE
  • 12.5% of circulation stats at Ryerson
  • laptops & iPads at York


  • sign waiver first time
  • replacement fee for losts
  • personal data cleared by deep freeze software once powered down
  • iPads cleared manually (~20 minutes each time) whenever returned
  • theft reported to security & IT
  • repairs sent to IT

Staffing Considerations

  • training sessions for staff including hands on experience
  • basic use and troubleshooting help
  • technical support & issues to IT
  • working group meeting to discuss issues
  • chargers with devices

Financial Support

  • education commons as pilot project at OISE
  • library itself & one-time funding from provost office to upgrade at Ryerson
  • library paid & some donations at York
  • apps purchased with gift card so as not to associate credit card #

Software & Apps Selection

  • laptop software same as what’s on desktop
  • productivity apps e.g. Dropbox
  • educational
  • preferred free, but some money to purchase apps

Age & Replacement Schedule

  • no formal refreshment cycle
  • mostly depends on budget, try to repair existing laptops
  • replacements determined by IT

User Feedback

  • informally, anecdotal
  • from student committee
  • studies planned for future: focus groups, survey

Future Directions

  • meeting demands, so unlikely to expand
  • no money to expand
  • future to encourage students to bring their own devices


Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

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