Circulating iPads

I just got 5 iPads back from my IT department so we will be circulating them fairly shortly.  This has been an interesting process. I know there are many academic medical libraries that are circulating iPads, but to my knowledge there are very few hospital libraries that are circulating iPads that CAN ACCESS the hospital’s secure WiFi network.

My project is to allow all* caregivers to check out an iPad so that they can use one device to do there job (EMR, labs, etc.) and library research at the point of need whether it is at the bedside or cafeteria, it doesn’t matter.

(*We will loan iPads to any main campus employee who is in good standing with the library and is not a temporary, visitor, volunteer or rotating student.)

While I have been working on this project, I have solicited information from many people and I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and advice. Here is a post listing many places I consulted and the information I found. I used a lot of that information so that I wouldn’t have to recreate the wheel.  However, all institutions have require their own little tweaks to the system, ours is no different.  I have decided to list the things I have personally learned that might be slightly different than what others have done, so that others might be able to learn from my experiences. 

  • GET IT INVOLVED! -OK that is a bit of cheat because a lot of librarians mentioned this, but I can’t stress this enough in the hospital environment.  Most of what I learned is because of IT.
  • Zenprise -  It is a mobile device management system that makes them “business-ready” (or in my case hospital ready), keeps content secure while balancing enterprise needs and user experience.  It can work with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) institutions or institutions that provide the device.  Our IT department configured all of the devices using Zenprise and is able to automatically push out institution apps.  I have experimented with the iPads and it appears that users can still load their personal apps on to the devices.  However, I was warned this might make some institutional apps act wonky.  Since I can’t get into every institutional app (EMR as an example), we will learn whether people can load their personal apps on the devices.
  • Extra Costs- The iPads aren’t cheap, but we also had to factor in the costs of our share of the Zenprise license and the software CALs (Client Access License).  Without the CALs then the iPads would not have the necessary apps and software that caregivers use to treat patients or conduct buisness online.  For example: If you want access to your institution’s Outlook you might need a Microsoft CAL. 

    It all depends on how your institution handles these type of institution wide programs and licenses.  It is another reason to make sure you are working with IT. Because those extras can add significantly to the cost of the iPad

  • Buying Apps – Our iPads iTunes accounts are not associated with a specific a credit card.  Individuals and institutions can do this by following Apple’s directions. I am not sure how ours were set up since IT set them up.  I “think” IT did something very similar to Apple method and used Zenprise to manage it all. 

    I have usernames and passwords for the devices so I can ”buy” more free apps as needed and install on them them on each device.  If I want them added globally, I can email my IT rep so that they can be added to their profile.

    If I want to buy fee apps then IT recommended that we buy iTunes gift cards and redeem them to buy apps. I am not sure if this their work around until they are able to figure out a method for institutional department purchasing through iTunes.  I am sure there are lots of hoops to jump through from both Apple and the institution to purchase apps through iTunes.

  • Circulation – There as many iPad circulation policies as there are libraries.  We decided to have them circulate for 1 week (no renewals initially) with $10/day late fees.  Since our users are employees of the institution we theoretically have a little more power to get the iPads returned, fees collected, (and hopefully never) replacement costs collected. I am told that IT can track the devices and lock them using Zenprise. I hope we never have to use that option but it is nice to know if somebody has an iPad overdue for weeks and weeks. 

    We are trying to walk a fine line regarding circulation.  We understandably want them to have some restrictions but we don’t want the restrictions to be so tight that they inhibit usage.  So we might be changing some policies as needed.

  • WiFi vs Cellular- The circulating iPads are WiFi only.  We bought 2 iPads with cellular iPads for librarians to use if they are somewhere where they cannot get a WiFi signal.  The cellular data is off.  It will only be turned on using the library credit card as needed. Both AT&T and Verizon allow you to buy a specific amount of data for a month (shortest amount of time period) without a contract or the need to continually buy data each month. Since our iPads are new, we have no idea if we will need the cellular feature or not. 
  • Advertising – We created a  image to go on our new library page (which will launch later in June) that has a series of 4-5 rotating images at the top of the home page. It will be linked to the libguide about the iPads. We have several table top signs that will be displayed through out the library.  We also have a brief story published in our Education newsletter.  Our institution does not allow mass emailing to employees and they have taken steps to make it very difficult to it. 
  • Survey – I will create a one page after use survey for people to fill out when they are using the device or when they return it.  It will be basic and is intended to see how people are using the device and asking if they will be willing to participate in a longer library iPad future survey.  I will have one in paper but I am toying with the idea of creating an online one using Survey Monkey and having the survey saved as an app on the device.  I am not sure if people would think to “use” the app to take a survey.

This is what I know so far.  We haven’t started circulating them, but when we do I will post more about what I have learned.

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