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Nexus Tablets For Hurricane Sandy-Affected Libraries

by on January 15, 2014

We all know Superstorm Sandy devastated New York and New Jersey in 2012, causing 2.7 million power outages, destroying thousands of homes, and dumping 8.5 million cubic yards of debris on roads.[1] Libraries were also severely damaged. According to the Queens Library website, the Seaside branch in Rockaway Park just re-opened October 28, 2013, and the original Arverne branch re-opened in December. But amidst all the challenges, there is some good news. Seven branches of the Queens Library began lending Nexus 7 Google tablets to their patrons in November 2013. Some of the branches participating include Arverne, Howard Beach, and Rockaway Beach.[2] Google has donated 17,000 tablets to help those in the areas most devastated by Sandy. Queens Library will receive 5,000 of those tablets.[3] No doubt library users at these branches will be excited at the prospect of using such technology for little to no cost at all. Sandy severely disrupted communication lines, so the ability to reconnect will be a welcome change.[4] Patrons will now have access to technology devices that were likely lost in the storm.

The Nexus 7 tablets come with preloaded content, and contain health, job, and educational resources for all ages. The tablets are also “programmed with a proprietary software interface.”[5] Patrons will be able to check them out for a maximum of four months (with three renewals). This is a great idea or goal for any library to attempt, but especially needed in times like these. People have additional needs aside from food, clothes, and a warm shelter. How can those affected by Sandy apply for jobs or relief benefits without a computer? The tablets, and the re-opening of the local libraries, will make that a little easier. The
Brooklyn Public Library also received Nexus 7 tablets from Google, with priority service given to those most affected by the storm. (Their policies are clearly outlined on their webpage.) Hopefully this development will help residents continue on the journey of recovery.

[1]6 Months Report: Superstorm Sandy from Pre-Disaster to Recovery,” FEMA,  April 25, 2013, http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4086/updates/6-months-report-superstorm-sandy-pre-disaster-recovery

[2] Gary Price, “Queens Library Will Begin Lending Google Nexus 7 Tablets To Cardholders Later This Month; 5,000 Tablets Set To Circulate,” Infodocket, November 1, 2013, http://www.infodocket.com/2013/11/01/queens-library-will-begin-lending-google-nexus-7-tablets-to-cardholders-later-this-month-5000-tablets-set-to-circulate/ .

[3] Ibid.

[4]6 Months Report,” FEMA.

[5] Price, “Queens Library Will Begin Lending Google Nexus 7 Tablets.”

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