Eau Claire library launches iPad lending program

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- History was made in Eau Claire on Wednesday, as the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library became the first public library in the country to check out Apple iPads.

After spending the summer loading them with thousands of books, Eau Claire library users can now get their hands on the popular tablet computers.

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Presto Foundation, library users will be able to stay up-to-date on the latest technology without paying hundreds of dollars.

“Since we are the first public library, if not the first library in the United States to lend out iPads, it’s been a challenge but it’s been exciting,” said library director John Stoneberg.

For Stoneberg, the roll out of the iPad lending program is all about changing with the times.

“The goal of the iPads program is to first introduce our customers to a new technology they haven’t used,” Stoneberg.

If you’re over 18 years-old and have an active library card, Stoneberg said you can enjoy all that the iPad has to offer.

“Each of the iPads is loaded with 1,000 e-book titles. It also has 10 audio books and a lot of free apps and shortcuts to websites,” Stoneberg said.

The library director said users can also download their own books, as well as listen to music and watch videos.

“It’s awesome. I’m impressed,” said library user Jeff Gettler.

Although the tablets were going like hot cakes on Wednesday morning, the Eau Claire man said he was excited to take one of the new iPads for a spin.

“I have a child so I was checking out the educational stuff. There are several apps they can use for that,” Gettler said.

While checking out a coveted iPad, Brenda Kaese said she wanted to try one of the tablets before she made the big purchase herself.

“I’m a speech therapist so that’s what got me interested. Because it’s a very expensive technology it’s not something you just decide suddenly you’re going to go out and buy,” Kaese said.

Stoneberg said over the next week, the library will have 32 iPads to checkout for seven days and six iPads to use in the library.

He said only one iPad will be allowed to be checked out per household at once, and users will have to sign a contract to take the tablets out of the library.

The library director also said any materials downloaded on the iPads by users will be deleted once they’re check back in.

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