Boonslick Regional Library in Sedalia recently received 110 pre-loaded children’s Playaway Launchpads tablets with a $13,032.71 grant supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Technology Act and administered by the Missouri State Library.
Boonslick Library Director Linda Allcorn was excited to have the new tablets and said they have been well received by both children and parents.
“We didn’t have money in our budget to do something like this, but with the grant money it was like, let’s do this,” Allcorn said. “Patrons are responding very well and parents are excited.”
The tablets, packaged in bright orange cases, are upstairs and easily seen by patrons as they come into the library.
“They are in these little boxes and each one is like a little kit,” she said. “We will be circulating them throughout our four locations. There will be about 25 or 30 in each location at a time.”
Boonslick locations include Sedalia, Cole Camp, Boonville and Warsaw branches.
“It’s all literacy-based pre-loaded applications,” Allcorn added. “It has science and math and reading. So children are playing games and activities but they are learning as they go. They are having a lot of fun so far.”
The Launchpads were set out a little over a week ago and combine reading with technology.
“The parents are saying ‘we love them,’” Allcorn noted. “We are hearing good things. I always try to push the literacy aspect. When I ran across these it was like oh, how cool is that!”
None of the apps can be accidentally or otherwise deleted, and if the Launchpad is dropped it won’t be hurt in the fall.
“This is made for children’s hands, if their dexterity isn’t the best,” she added.
The tablet takes in all different levels of learning.
“They all have different subjects and applications on them and they are for different age groups,” she said. “What’s nice with this, the age groups are marked on the side of the box. Right now because it’s a new product that Playaway is putting out, they made more for the preschool age, just to see if it was something the public would want.
“They are developing more, but we bought all that they had,” she added. “It’s brand new. That’s another thing when I was looking, I was trying to find something that would be literacy-based and something for children that would be in tablet-type form. We really want the children to have a good experience, and … to have the ability to interact.”
Subject area packs include: English, language arts, math, science, language learning, critical thinking, and creativity. The theme packs include: princesses, animals, transportation, dinosaurs, space and fantasy.
“It’s really to help the children grow with their reading, math and sciences without realizing they’re doing it,” Allcorn said.
The Launchpads can be checked out on an adult’s library card and taken home for one week, making the tablet perfect for summer vacation travel. Due to limited inventory, patrons may only check-out two Launchpads per adult library card.
The tablets are also excellent for children who don’t like to read, Allcorn added.
“This is a great way to get them to read,” she said. “You’re interacting, you’re listening and you’re getting to see letters and words and sounds. But, what’s really neat is parents can interact with the children.”
Boonslick will also have an iPad available for children soon.
“We also bought one iPad that will be in the library as well,” she said. “Some of these (Launchpads) are ADA compliant and some aren’t. (The iPad) will be more conducive for children who have special needs. We are working on the apps that we’ll have loaded on those.”
The iPad will be kept in the Children’s Department at the library and won’t be available for check-out.
“It’s opened doors for the library to be able to help get the children more involved with all different types of writing and authors,” she said of both the Launchpad and the iPad.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 826-1000 ext. 1481 or @flbemiss.