Tablets are now common in libraries, mostly used by visitors to access digital content. But what many people don’t know is that tablets also have great benefits for library staff. Besides being convenient and easy to carry, tablets are versatile tools that help staff work better. They provide quick access to information and improve communication, making them essential for library staff. Here are a few hidden benefits that make tablets indispensable for the library staff.
Portability and Mobility with Instant Access to Information
Tablets enable library staff to break free from the constraints of fixed workstations. They can carry the tablet with them while assisting patrons, conducting inventory checks, or and handle various tasks on-the-go. This enhanced mobility boosts efficiency and responsiveness, leading to improved customer service.
With a tablet, library staff can quickly access a wealth of information at their fingertips. They can quickly access the library catalogue, browse databases, check the availability of materials, and retrieve information for customers without needing to search through multiple shelves or return to computers to find information. This immediate access saves time and enables staff to provide prompt assistance.
Tablets facilitate efficient communication among library staff members. They can use messaging apps or email on the tablet to send instant messages, collaborate on projects, share important updates, or coordinate tasks with colleagues. This streamlined communication helps improve teamwork and productivity. For instance, during a training event for a city library with multiple branches, one branch can use the tablet’s video conferencing feature to connect with other branches simultaneously. This allows staff from different locations to participate in the event, ask questions, and share insights in real-time.
Digital Library Management
Tablets can be integrated with library management systems, enabling staff to access the system remotely. Specialised apps and software allow them to handle cataloguing, circulation, inventory management, and reporting digitally. They can check real-time circulation data, monitor holds and requests, update patron information, and perform other administrative tasks using the tablet. This transition reduces paperwork, minimises errors, and simplifies administrative tasks, giving staff more time to focus on patrons’ needs.
Besides, tablets can be integrated with digital signage displays or self-service stations in the library. Staff can use tablets to control and update digital signage content, provide instructions or guidance to library users, or monitor self-service stations for any assistance required.
Tablets integrate with an RFID Handheld Reader for inventory management
Enhance Library Services with Reader Advisory and Interactive Activities
Tablets serve as valuable tools for reader advisory and reference services. Using e-book reader apps, staff can showcase digital collections, recommend titles, and guide patrons in discovering new books. Access to online resources and databases ensures that staff can provide accurate and up-to-date information to library users.
Tablets can be used for interactive presentations and training sessions, both for staff and customers, within the library. Staff can prepare and deliver engaging presentations, showcase multimedia content, and conduct interactive workshops using the tablet’s touchscreen interface. This innovative approach enhances learning experiences and keeps library users engaged.
Embracing tablet technology equips library staff with powerful tools to enhance their workflow, streamline operations, and elevate the overall library experience. However, Devlin et al. (2015)* point out that there are still challenges for library staff using tablets in their daily work, such as data security, device management, and appropriate training to make the most of tablet technology in the library setting.
To overcome these challenges, most libraries are using a full tablet management system instead of purchasing and managing individual tablets by themselves. One of those well-known systems is Hublet Solution, providing secure and easily managed tablet services specifically designed for libraries. By implementing solutions like Hublet, libraries can harness the full potential of tablets while ensuring data privacy and smooth device management.
In conclusion, tablets are a win-win for libraries. They empower staff with quick access to information, better communication, and streamlined administrative tasks. As libraries continue to embrace technology, tablets stand as a powerful ally in their mission to excel in the digital era.
Libraries that have implemented Hublet Solution for managing tablets: Hublet customers’ stories
Not sure which device you should use in your library? Check out this comparison sheet: Which digital device is better for libraries?
*Devlin, Frances A., Jon C. Giullian, and Betsaida M. Reyes (2015). “Tablets for Library Staff: Tools, Toys, or Troubles?” Internet Librarian: The Internet Conference and Exhibition for Librarians and Information Managers, Monterey, CA. October 28, 2015.