Drexel’s Newest Vending Machine Dispenses iPads

After successfully introducing a vending machine that dispensed MacBooks for 24-hour student use, Drexel University in collaboration with the Free Library of Philadelphia is introducing an iPad vending machine. Located in the University’s Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, the kiosk will make a dozen iPads available to local residents and Drexel students.

Christine Liu, an administrative coordinator at Drexel Libraries, checks out the University's new iPad vending machine.
Christine Liu, an administrative coordinator at Drexel Libraries, checks out an iPad from the University’s new iPad vending machine.

Residents of Philadelphia’s Mantua and Powelton Village neighborhoods bordering Drexel’s campus will be able to use their Free Library of Philadelphia card to sign out an iPad and use it for a maximum of four hours. With a swipe of their Drexel ID, students will also be able to check out an iPad. Users won’t have to worry about personal data being stored on the iPad as all information entered will be removed once the iPad is returned to its slot in the kiosk.

“We see this partnership as building upon the success of the Free Library of Philadelphia Hot Spots and Neighborhood Library Computer Labs that bring computer access, classes and the Internet to neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “The apps downloaded on the iPads have been specifically chosen to support the digital literacy needs for children, teens and adults.”

Librarians at the Free Library and Drexel selected the apps installed on the iPads to be part of a suite of tools, including Browzine, Hoopla digital, Mango Languages, Overdrive and Zinio. Other apps available on the iPads explore art, digital storytelling, early literacy, games, geography, music, news, photo editing, science, astronomy and video editing.

“Based on the success of the laptop lending kiosk in our library, self-service technology has proven to serve as an easy, attractive option for access to items we know our library users want,” said Danuta A. Nitecki, PhD, dean of Drexel Libraries. “We are exploring more opportunities to share technology via kiosks as well as new options for enriching the learning spaces where our Drexel community engages with information. It has been exciting to work with colleagues at the Free Library to think how tools might help our neighbors gain access to self-help training and practice discovery of information sources.”

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