iBad: iPads in library not cost effective

Jimmy Pyles

The library just got 40 iPads for student to check out for a week at a time. Congratulations – the building that promotes studying just gave students a tool to procrastinate even more than we already do.

A lot of professors don’t even allow students to use laptops and tablets in class, but when they do, students don’t always use them for school work. Having students borrow the iPads provided students a better way to check Facebook and Twitter during class.

It’s a waste of time and money for the library to offer these iPads when they don’t even give the same options for the MacBooks. They should have experimented with loaning the MacBooks to students before spend a lot of money on iPads, because they didn’t know if this were going to be something students would utilize.

Why do the students need to use the iPads at home? Putting music, apps and other things on the iPad just to be deleted a week later just too time consuming for students who already have homework and other projects.

One of the only good things about being able to take them home is for students who don’t have a computer – they now have something they can use at home.

I’m not saying that every student is going to misplace or break the iPads but more often than not the iPad will get messed up, leaving the student paying $800 for an iPad that cost $500 or less. So how is it fair to make students overpay for a damaged iPad that the university got at a discount?

At first, the iPads should have been only available inside the library. Then, if they saw a need for students to take them home and into the classrooms, library staff could have made it possible for them to do so.

Even with a discount, the iPads were probably $300 or $350 apiece, which probably cost the library $12,000 to $14,000 dollars. Besides, the library could have spent the money buying upgrades or more software for the computers already in the library.

Having the iPads available for students is a great opportunity, but the money spent on them will not outweigh the educational use the library is hoping to get out of them.