Back in April, I gave a renovation update detailing the newly remodeled spaces related to Digital Services at my library. I mentioned plans to add a “gadget petting zoo” and that’s now become a reality. We’re calling it the “Tech Bar” and I’m happy to say that it’s generated a lot of interest in a short amount of time. It’s proving to be a great conversation starter to talk about the library’s eBooks, digital magazines, circulating eReaders and tablets, mobile app, and just technology in general.
We have eight devices, including a Kindle Paperwhite, Nook SimpleTouch, Nexus 7, iPad mini, two Nook Tablets, and two Kindle Fires. They’re all mounted and tethered to pedestals that are secured to the surface. There’s a slot in the middle of the tablet that allows us to store cords used to recharge the devices when needed. The table is situated right next to our Tech Help Desk so it’s easy for our staff to notice when people are exploring the devices and offer help.
During our big open house event this afternoon, we had a steady stream of people walking up to the Tech Bar wanting to know more about the devices we have displayed. It was encouraging to see people immediately get the idea that it’s okay to pick up the devices, turn them on, play with them, and ask questions about them. Since it looks similar to what people might see at a retail electronics store, I’m guessing there’s less fear in handling the devices and experimenting with them. Plus, we’re obviously not trying to sell any of the gadgets so it seems like people are at ease with talking to staff without any pressure. It’ll be interesting to see if the interest remains, but so far so good!