3.04.2005

iPods in Libraries

Michael over at Tame the Web always links to some of the coolest technolibrary stuff. I get so stoked every time I see a recent posting in my Bloglines, waiting to see what the newest and coolest this week is going to be...

This week I almost fell off my chair. Libraries are circulating iPods. Loaded with audiobooks. Or with samples of music from their collection.

They are circulating iPods.

As Michael said, how cool would it be to put up a flyer that says "Get an iPod @ Your Library"!

I only got an iPod this past Christmas, but I can see how folks become immediately enamored with it (my enthusiasm even inspired De and Carrie to each pop out and get one). Even before seeing Michael's postings about iPod usage, I had wondered how we could incorporate this into a public library. I remember how exciting it was when Indiana University began circulating laptops, digital cameras and video cameras to students - this is very much in the same vein. I've jokingly asked my boss if we could circ laptops, but we're not quite as fiscally secure as IU. ;-)

After seeing all these new and exciting uses, though, I did ask my boss, only half jokingly, if we could circ iPods. He said sure. I danced a jig.

Obviously, we have a ways to go before we get to that point, but that's what you want in a director - someone willing to at least examine the technology before shutting it down. I know he was skeptical about a public blog, but he let me give it a whirl - and with positive results. I know he's still not sold on IM Reference, but he's willing to listen if I can make a good enough case.

He also has an iPod, and thus sees the fabulous potential of this little device. ;-)

I really dig on the idea of circulating iPod shuffles loaded with audiobooks or music samples. We've talked about having a "listening station" in the library - this takes that idea and runs out the door with it. Very cool. I'm cautiously optimistic that what these libraries are doing is within the bounds of the law and iTunes contract, that it isn't a financial disaster, and that it's something even a smaller library can take on. I can't wait to see how this whole story progresses...

In any case, I smile when I think of that crafty librarian who said "You know what? Let's just TRY it. What's the worst that can happen? It's the price of doing business."

I can always applaud that spirit in a librarian.

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