Laptops at the push of a button

Sanibel Public Library’s Tech IT Out service offers Library cardholders an easy and fast way to borrow a Dell laptop or MacBook Air for use inside the building. It is a pilot project funded in part by the Sanibel Public Library Foundation as part of its investment in innovative technology to enhance and enrich your library experience.

“Sanibel Public Library is the first public library in the state of Florida to offer this service. The Foundation helps us keep up with technology with hopes to keep Library patrons up-to-date as well,” said Sanibel Public Library Director Margaret Mohundro.

The Tech IT Out kiosk offers adult cardholders a choice of six Dell laptops and six Macbooks. Experienced computer users can select a device to borrow, scan their library card to use the laptop or tablet anywhere in the Sanibel Public Library for up to three hours. All devices feature cloud-based word processing and various mobile apps and are connected to the library’s free Wi-Fi. Printers are available to print black and white, at ten cents per page. The Tech IT Out kiosk also stores, recharges and wipes clean the data of each device after a patron borrows it.

Many of the technology and electronic service programs began as pilot projects funded in part by the Library Foundation. “We are fortunate to have an elected Library Board that encourages access to leading edge technology for Sanibel residents, and a Library Foundation that supports pilot projects and start- up services,” said Mohundro. “We leverage tax investment with Foundation grants and donations to keep Sanibel Library as a service leader in Florida and nationally. It’s a wonderful example of a successful public-private partnership that benefits us all,” said Mohundro, who added, “In 2014 the Sanibel Library Foundation supported a pilot project to start the eMagazine service, and it has grown into a popular service.”

Tech IT Out is a complement to and in support of the existing computer lab, where less experienced computer users have access to staff and personal help. In the TeenSpace there is also access to two MacBooks Air so teens and ’tweens have their own area for homework, school projects, research, socializing and reading. Patrons may ask for a Tech IT Out demonstration to learn how to borrow a laptop.

Sanibel Public Library’s eShelf was originally funded in 2010 with a grant from the Foundation focusing on bestselling and popular eBooks and downloadable audiobooks. The following year the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club provided funds for a special eBook business collection. Since 2011 the eShelf usage has grown by 20 percent every year. Sanibel Public Library offers Hoopla for downloadable eBooks, movies, music and audiobooks as well as Overdrive for eBooks, and offers online magazines through Zinio. For patrons who prefer paper, there are more than 300 magazines and periodicals available in print at the Sanibel Library.

In 2017 the Library rolled out an app that helps patrons find books, movies, music, and more. With the Sanibel Public Library App you have real-time access to the catalog, you can place a hold, and keep up to date with upcoming events. If you’re on the go and find a book you want to read, you can use the BookLook feature to easily determine if the Library has a copy. Simply use your phone’s camera to take a picture of the book’s bar code, and you are directed to the Sanibel Public Library’s collection, where you can see if copies of the book are available.

Wireless internet access is available throughout the Library for patrons bringing their personal laptops and mobile devices. Sanibel Library also provides computers (at no charge) in the mobile lab, to use for internet access, however, there is a ten cent per page charge for printing. The Library also offers a great selection of DVDs, large-print books, music CDs, magazines and more. Library cards are available to Sanibel and Lee County residents at no charge. Visitor cards may be obtained for a $10 annual fee.

Patrons who need technical assistance with using their own personal devices to download magazines, movies or books can stop by the Sanibel Library’s Technology Area to make an appointment with one of the technicians.

Major funding for new technology is provided by the Sanibel Public Library Foundation, Inc. and its generous donors. For more information about the Foundation or to make a donation, call the Library at (239) 472-2483.