The KIOKIT: Public library friendly digital device
The changing trends in service delivery in public libraries have brought about the innovative ways of encouraging children and young adults to read. Different digital devices have been introduced to libraries including as a way of enhancing the existing services and encouraging children and young adults to use the library.
In Kenya, tablets have been introduced among other digital devices. One of the main challenges are charging the devices for the next use and the security of the devices. These challenges have been overcome by the introduction of the KIOKIT to the library. The KIOKIT is friendly tablet to children and young adults. The tablets are charged once using only one electric cable drastically reducing the work of charging one tablet at a time. The KIOKIT with 40 tablets can be charged overnight for the following days use. Secondly, the KIOKIT use a wifi controlled environment and which limits the loss of the tablets. In one KIOKIT tablet is taken away, it becomes useless at a radius of more than 10 metres. Thirdly, the introduction of the KIOKIT to Kenya National Library Services (knls) Thika has changed to attitude of the staff to embrace the technology and assist the children and young adults access the content.
As a librarian, it has been very encouraging for the last two and a half months of using the KIOKIT in the library. This is what the teachers, children and young adults have this to say;
“The programme is very educative and E-Learning is the way to go. The learners enjoyed every minute as they used the Kio-Kit and tapped different subjects covered. The programme should have been in our schools like ‘yesterday!’ This is a joy. Thanks for having us.” A teacher
“Tablets help us understand English and Kiswahili. We understand stories well and some stories are given during compositions. Kiswahili in tablet books will help us write good insha”. A pupil
The KIOKIT tablets not without the challenges though,
- Wi-fi platform of accessing the content have to be strong enough to especially during heavy usage.
- Portability is a challenge especially when used for outreach services to reach the disadvantaged group. Thika library has to give KIOKIT tablet services a school for the physically challenged who cannot access the library. – Teachers demand to be trained not to be overtaken by the children
- Parents’ interest in the library have increased and also want to learn more about the digital devices, since some of the children come from Kiandutu slum and do not have access to digital devices.