RACINE COUNTY — From the moment the Burlington Public Library’s demo Launchpad arrived, Joy Schnupp knew the library needed more.
“Playing with them, it was easy to see that we really want these,” she said.
Schnupp, the library’s assistant director and head of youth services, plans to order 10 Launchpads — interactive tablets made by Playaway that promote learning and literacy. Discounts for the tablets have been offered to all of the member libraries in the Lakeshores Library System as part of a bulk order.
“We received a recommendation about Launchpad devices from another library that is using them and they’ve had good results,” said Steve Ohs, director of the Lakeshores System, which provides support services for public libraries in Racine and Walworth counties.
All of the tablets are themed and designed to tackle a particular area of learning, according to Schnupp. Some of them focus on brain training while some, including the one the Burlington library is testing, teach kids about topics like transportation.
“Everything you can think of that has to do with early literacy, they deal with,” Schnupp said. “We see these as fun, but they’re also true early learning tools.”
Ohs said he offered each member library an opportunity to purchase Launchpads so that the system saves as much money as possible
“A lot of the time, by pooling resources and doing orders collectively, we can save the libraries a lot of money,” he said.
Ohs added that more interest from libraries continues to trickle in, which will cause the price to fluctuate. Once he places the order in the coming weeks, he anticipates the Launchpads will be available in local libraries some time in June.“It looks like there’s a fair amount of interest at this point,” he said.In Burlington’s case, the library will pay for its 10 Launchpads with a gift from a private donor, Schnupp said.
Expanding technology’s reach
The Launchpads, which will be available to check out at the Burlington library for weeklong periods,give technological access to children that their parents may not be able to afford, Schnupp said.
“It sort of levels the playing field for everybody,” she said.
Not only that, she said, but they allow the library to keep educating its patrons in cutting-edge, technological ways.
“We try to keep up on innovation and were interested in helping our young kids and this is a great way to do that,” Schnupp said.