Gadget Petting Zoos: Tips & Success Stories

photo credit: Michael PorterIf your library provides gadget "petting zoo" events to acquaint patrons with ebook readers, tablets, and other handheld devices, you'll want to take a look at TechSoup's Gadget Instruction post where you can get lots of great tips for providing one of your own, plus 3 library success stories you can learn from.

Haven't held a Gadget Petting Zoo yet? Here's what Techsoup's Crystal Schimpf says about the benefits of gadget instruction:

Many libraries offer training on specific gadgets such as e-readers, smartphones, and tablets, in an effort to help patrons access books and information more effectively.
In a recent Pew study (Library Services in the Digital Age), 69% of adults said they would be "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to attend a "tech petting zoo" type event at their local library, so that they can test and toy with different devices.
Offering gadget instruction can teach patrons how to use their device to download library materials, access library resources online, and improve their ability to find relevant and authoritative information from any location.

Note: if you're at a Winnefox library and want to hold a Gadget Petting Zoo event, contact me to borrow a WPLC Gadget Package.  The Gadget Pack contains handheld devices, including an iPad, Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire, NOOK Simple Touch, and NOOK Color.

Here's a sample of what you'll find at TechSoup's Gadget Instruction:

  • Planning:
    • Ask the community what type of gadget instruction they want or need. Conduct a survey and track common gadget questions at the reference desk.
    • Encourage library staff to learn more about gadgets, and provide them with opportunities for practice time.
    • Engage community experts and technology enthusiasts to offer gadget instruction and assistance.
  • Instruction Tips:
    • Use a smartboard, TV, or projector and the appropriate adapter cables to display the instructor’s device for everyone in the class. [Note: the WPLC Gadget Package comes with a Ziggi USB Document Camera for this purpose.]
    • Before handling patron devices, have patrons sign a waiver releasing liability. Denver Public Library uses this waiver before every gadget appointment.
  • plus success stories from 3 public libraries

Read all the details at TechSoup's Gadget Instruction.

TechSoup For Libraries' Edge Benchmarks series explores various technology training models in public libraries and shares tips and real life success stories.

Photo credit: Michael Porter (aka Libraryman) on Flickr