BYOD in Your School Library

Businesses are embracing the BYOD trend for a number of reasons. Eighty percent of respondents in a 2012 Forrester Research study said increased worker productivity was the key reason behind BYOD program deployment and 70 percent cited an increased padding to their bottom line.

Along with their reasons for embracing BYOD programs, businesses also have reasons for concern, such as security breach issues and malicious motives from outsiders. However, businesses are not the only ones juggling the pros and cons of BYOD programs. Libraries implementing their own BYOD programs are faced with similar benefits and struggles. Just as workers prefer to use the devices that they own rather than being stuck with those issued by an IT department, students prefer to use their own devices rather than the desktop computers sitting in the library.

Concerns of BYOD in Libraries

Libraries need programs that are both compatible across multiple platforms and can be used anywhere, anytime. Ramona High School in California has a BYOD library program that supports a variety of devices — both Android and Apple-based tablets and smartphones. Students simply bring their device to the library for verification.

BYOD security is also a concern. How can libraries protect the information of users and data on their networks? The technical director at the New York Law School makes sure all BYOD devices are authorized to use the campus network that don’t bring in any computer viruses by using a ForeScout Technologies hardware appliance called CounterACT, according to Network World. Other solutions, like BlackBerry’s Enterprise Service 10 protect against BYOD security concerns by letting you manage your users, groups, apps and services all from one primary console.

How Does it Work?

Some Texas school libraries are using a digital platform called OverDrive. OverDrive allows students to access digital books on multiple platforms — computers, smartphones, tablets, e-readers and MP3 players. It even allows librarians to build their schools’ digital collection based on grade level or school curriculum. Overdrive uses the Adobe DRM (Device Rights Management) system to protect files from piracy and manage the lending period of library e-books. The Texas BYOD program is being expanded to allow students to check out books to their devices using the school’s network and account, according to the journal.

Some other online resources for digital librarians include:

Clevnet: An association of 44 library systems across 12 different counties in Northeast Ohio that allows access to the collections of every participating library.

OneClickDigital: A new E-Audiobook database.

3M’s Cloud eBook Lending: Let’s readers explore and borrow ebooks.

eBooks on EBSCOhost: Claims to offer a powerful search function unparalleled to other digital libraries.

Amazon: A huge selection of fiction and non-fiction books that can be downloaded to mobile devices including Kindles and iPads. It works with the Whispersync service allowing people to connect their devices with library accounts.

Ibiblio: An online public library that has freely available software and information on topics like music, literature, art, history, science, politics and cultural studies.

JSTOR: An online resource for searching journals, primary sources and books.

This article was provided by the Continuous Content  program from BlueFirePR.

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