We interviewed Tom Blackwell, Systems Improvement and Project Manager at Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure about his experiences of Hublets.
“Our goal was to enable our customers to access a wider range of our digital content more suited to tablets rather than desktop PCs within the library, such as newspapers, magazines and tablet apps. Hublets also provide an alternative to logging in on the desktops for quick browsing or where full PC functionality isn’t required. Hublets allow our customers to be more mobile around the library.
We had tried other tablets in the past and had issues with both theft and device management. The security benefits of the Hublets as opposed to standard tablets were a huge bonus to us. Hublets can be used anywhere in the library without the need to be locked down to a desk and allow them to be borrowed on a self-service basis with library card authentication, so we can tell who has a Hublet at any time.
Although we would encourage everyone to give the Hublets a go we were particularly keen to get people using our Newspaper and Magazine apps which allow us to give access to a much wider selection of Newspapers and Magazines than we are able to stock in hardcopy. It’s a more natural way to browse these resources than on our desktop PCs.
Over the past few years we have seen new technology being introduced across the board in the UK with some businesses struggling to keep up. Redbridge Libraries have continued to adapt and develop in the new digital era introducing an array of new technology that has been released. From virtual reality to coding, augmented reality to learning to use a computer for the first time, we believe that part of the role of a library in this modern era is to keep up with the times and encourage our customers to learn and participate with our digital products. Tablets had always been a problem to introduce so freely in libraries due to how easy it is to steal them however with Hublet technology this has broken that barrier.
Hublets device management is easy to use with minimal training required.
Overall the outcome from staff has been very positive. Hublet requires minimal training and expertise and is incredibly user friendly. Staff have been encouraging customers to give Hublets a try and integrate them into our customer journey. The whole system and setup is very intuitive for both staff and library users.
Our Hublets offer access to Newspaper/Magazine apps, E-Book apps, everyday social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and also access to the Microsoft Office apps. We are constantly reviewing the needs of the customers and are planning to offer more accessibility to learn/play in the future. We have also developed a new, innovative community events app which will allow the local community to display their own events to a wider audience free of charge – a virtual noticeboard.
We have talked about our Hublets on social media and displayed posters around the libraries. We are looking to do more in the near future to increase their usage.
We try and keep the Hublets located as close to the front desk as possible to allow our team to show our customers what Hublets are and how they can be used. We also have a set in our business hub, Hub Central at Redbridge Central Library and are monitoring the benefits Hublets provide to new and start-up businesses.”