Monday, October 18, 2010

Cord Control

We're sooo lucky to have lots of cool technology donated to the library. Between iTouches and Kindles, we've got some of the latest and greatest tech toys.

It's great that we've got the toys, but it'd be awesome if we also had money to buy fancy storage options to keep everything organized and secure. Unfortunately....we don't! So for now, we're coming up with creative ways to store our stuff.
We started last year with three iTouches, and ended the year in June with just two. Our checkout procedure and storage obviously needed to be revamped. This year, we've gotten super-duper fancy. Meet our iTouch storage cart:

Yup, it's totally what it looks like. We just stuck a locking file cabinet that we already owned underneath the circulation desk. The custodian drilled a hole in the side, which we wrapped with electrical tape to cover any jagged edges (the hole is circled in red at left). We have a USB hub to manage the multiple iTouches, so the power cord and USB cord run out the hole and connect to the circulation computer.

The cords from the computer loop over the top of the drawer. We've taped them down to the drawer so they don't move when it's opened and closed. We keep the two iTouches hooked up to the hub, and when a student wants to use one during studyhall, the person working the circulation desk pulls open the drawer, unplugs it, and checks it out. Easy peasy! So far it's worked like a charm.
As a side note, if you're going to circulate multiple iTouches in your library, I totally recommend getting different colored cases -- it's much easier to tell them apart. Especially when you're watching fuzzy surveillance video and trying to track a specific iTouch while you wait for it to disappear on video. All the purple iTouches look alike when your view is from the ceiling!

If you were impressed by our iTouch set-up, wait until you see how we manage the Kindles.

The secret is inside this cabinet. Once again, we've hit up the custodians to help us with cord control. This time, they installed a lock on a set of doors in the office's back room. They also drilled a hole in the bottom shelf of the cabinet so we could run a powerstrip cord from inside of the cabinet to an outlet below.

This is the view inside the cabinet. We used book ends to build little cradles for each Kindle. I just stacked them in a row and then taped the last one on the right down to the shelf so they don't slide. Each Kindle has its own power source that plugs into the strip behind. Unlike the iTouches, I was smart enough to order different colored cases for the Kindles (I'm still waiting for that Amazon shipment to arrive!). You can see where I labeled each slot with a "color."

We haven't actually started loaning out the Kindles, but as soon as those covers arrive, I can't wait to get them in students' hands!!

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