Stepping into our branches on any afternoon, you might expect to be greeted by rows of books, the soft hum of reading, and the gentle tapping of keys. But now, another sound has joined the chorus—a series of intuitive beeps, signalling yet another community member borrowing technology through our Tech Lending Kiosks.
This year, we’ve integrated Tech Lending Kiosks across all of our branches. These self-service stations ensure easy and open access to technology and allows community members to borrow Chromebooks and tablets—all free with a library card.
Bridging the digital divide
The heart of this initiative lies in our commitment to bridging the digital divide—a goal that has become especially important in our post-pandemic world. As more of our lives exist online, everything from accessing government services to keeping in touch with loved ones requires the use of digital resources.
“During COVID-19, we realized how essential technology lending is,” shares IT Manager Kevin Crick, who has been at the forefront of our Tech Lending Kiosks initiative.
Efficient and convenient
Borrowing is as simple as touching a kiosk screen, selecting the desired device, and following a few prompts. Within moments, under a blinking blue light, technology is at your fingertips. Best of all, the emphasis on self-service provides freedom and ease for both community members and staff.
“Before the kiosks, lending technology required significant staff time—from loaning items to ensuring data privacy with manual wipes of the tech,” says Kevin. “Now, the Tech Lending Kiosks are self-serve, freeing up our staff to assist community members in more meaningful ways.”
Bursting with benefits, our Tech Lending Kiosks have been a hit—indicated by the amazing increase in tech lending. “From March to July in 2023, the average circulation was 1,127 devices per month—a significant leap from 289 in the same months of 2022,” says Kevin.
These figures are not just statistics; they represent individual stories and moments of discovery facilitated by easy access to technology. Kevin says the uses of the lendable tech are vast, ranging from education and entertainment to communication, translation and accessing government or health services.
Maybe the most impressive is how seamlessly these kiosks have been embraced. "The system has reduced errors and increased circulation,” says Kevin. “We've seen an almost 290 percent increase in usage over the past year.”
But beyond the numbers and tech-speak is a reassuring message. As our world becomes increasingly digital, we remain committed to ensuring that all members of our community—whether tech-savvy teens or curious seniors—are not left behind. We’re here to ensure everyone can connect, learn, and grow.
Kevin emphasizes, "it’s a never-ending process of making things easy for the public to use, ensuring privacy, and offering unfettered access to information. There’s always growth in technology, and we’re here to help the public help themselves.”
Watch: How To Use the Library's Tech Kiosks
This story was originally created as part of Halifax Public Libraries' 2022-23 Annual Report. Read the full report here.
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