SUNY New Paltz’s Sojourner Truth Library (STL) recently decided to make iPads available to students during the 2012-13 academic year, as long as the students present their ID cards at the circulation desk.
The library has 10 iPads to offer as part of the lending program, and students are allowed to check out an iPad for up to three hours.
During the three-hour period that students have the iPads in their possession, they can download any necessary apps. The tablets are also equipped with word processing apps such as Apple’s Pages that students can use to complete assignments.
Kristy Lee, a librarian at STL who played a large role in setting up the iPad lending program, said the iPads have more capabilities than an e-Reader, which made them more appealing.
“For the past two years, we have been exploring e-Readers and tablet computers,” she said. “The iPad turned out to be a device that can do much more than an e-Reader. There are many apps available on the iPad that can be used productively and creatively for studying and learning.”
However, Lee said, the benefits of the iPads for students remain to be seen.
Students also have mixed feelings on the iPad lending system. Jerry Di Lella, a first-year business major, said that when it comes to printing and access to documents, a computer would be more convenient.
“I would probably have to hook up the iPad to a printer so it kind of defeats the purpose of using one,” he said. “They have computers here…[the iPads] are for entertainment.”
Other students feel that the iPads are beneficial for different reading assignments that do not require printing. Sahaj Gupta, a first-year accounting major, said students should take advantage of the iPad lending program for assignments that can be easily accessed online.
“Basically, most of the assignments are reading assignments, and [for those assignments] you do not feel like printing, so it is easier to read on the iPad than on a laptop,” Gupta said.
The STL is also looking to adopt a new kind of technology into the renovated library space on the main floor to boost group collaboration.
“Last September, the library tested a new collaboration station called Media:Scape in the MediaSpace inside the library for an entire month,” Lee said. “We are also exploring other technology to support conferencing and virtual classroom instruction.”