In 2012, Queens Library began lending e-readers to customers, pre-loaded with content. It was a giant leap forward in customer service, and an opportunity for our library cardholders to become familiar with the advantages and uses of e-reading. A large percentage of library users in Queens depend solely on their public library for computer and broadband access, and many others lean on the library for baseline digital literacy. As more and more content is provided only in electronic format, the divide continues to grow between haves and have-nots. Queens Library seeks to bridge the digital divide by lending electronic devices as well as content. It will allow customers to experiment hands-on with devices and become comfortable using technology. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, a donor has pledged several thousand tablet computers to be lent to customers in the affected areas. In preparation, our Board approved a policy for lending electronic devices that is broad enough to cover most of formats we currently envision lending. The library’s goals were to incentivize responsible care of expensive hardware, while at the same time keeping barriers to a minimum for good customer service. We hope to keep everyone in Queens plugged in and reading.
Electronic Device Loan Policy
The Queens Library will make electronic devices available to library customers for loan to bridge the digital divide by expanding access points to the Library’s electronic resources, customer use of the internet and desktop software applications. Customers who wish to use or borrow a device:
1. Must have an active Queens Library card in good standing at the time of use/borrowing.
2. Present valid photo identification at the time of use/borrowing; one of the following non-expired photo identification cards is required: valid NY driver’s license or state-issued photo ID, current school or college identification card, or consulate ID.
3. Must satisfactorily complete a Queens Library E-Device Loan Agreement.
4. If under 18 years of age, must have a parent present to co-sign the E-Device Loan Agreement at time of first borrowing, and have ‘Open Access’ privileges on his or her card. Subsequent borrowing would not require parent to be present.
5. May not use the E-Device for illegal activity.
6. Must agree to be personally responsible for the E-Device, and in the event it is lost or damaged due to negligence, to pay for any and all damages to the device and related equipment that are checked out on his/her library account, up to and including replacement costs. Discretion for determining loss and damage rests with the appropriate Queens Library staff.
7. May not download to the E-Device any applications, content or materials that are not provided by or authorized by the Queens Library.
8. May borrow one device, per person, at any one time.
9. If the E-Device is not returned by the end of the loan period, the E-Device will incur an extended use fee of $3 per day up to the maximum amount of $42 (14 days) and on the 15th day overdue the customer’s account will be charged for replacement.