I first got an iPad as part of the campus iPad Initiative.  At the time, I had four weeks to learn the device before I had to teach faculty how to use it.  I decided to make myself use the iPad for everything; I stopped taking notebooks to meetings, put files on Dropbox, and looked for an app for anything I normally did with my smartphone or computer.  Some things worked better than others, but I got a good idea of the strengths and challenges of the device by immersing myself in its functionality.

The biggest challenge was figuring out how the iPad was useful for me.  Did it replace my laptop?  Was it an e-reader?  Could I use it in my classes?  Over time, I found that it is an extremely fast and convenient way to access web-based resources, whether it be when I’m helping someone with their research or in a meeting and needing to access an article for the discussion at hand.  I also enjoy connecting my notes and files on all my devices, which I wouldn’t have explored if I did not have an iPad.  I have found I like reading websites and blogs on the iPad, but I still prefer to absorb long-form reading and articles in print.

One of the biggest joys in having an iPad is working with others who have it.  Each time someone comes to me with a question or shares an exciting new tool they are using, it sparks my desire to explore further.   It also connects to the core librarianship principle of connecting users to resources; I get to use what I’ve learned to help others be successful in their research and teaching.

My favorite apps:

Evernote:  This note-taking app syncs across all my devices, and is accessible via the web.  I’ve stopped taking paper notebooks to meetings to take regular notes Since I have a hard time reading my own handwriting,  Evernote has made a huge difference in my ability to read what I’ve written!

  • Dropbox:  This app is my sonic screwdriver for making the iPad a true productivity tool.  Almost every app integrates with Dropbox, so anything I create can be easily accessed on my computer, and files I need on the go are instantly available.
  • Skitch: I can annotate any image with arrows, text, and highlights, which helps when I’m creating tutorials or helping someone via email.
  • Feedly: A lot of my professional reading is on blogs or has an RSS feed, and I use Feedly to keep track of what I need to read.
  • Yoga Studio: When I want a guided yoga session, this app is perfect.  It has several 30-minute classes and has a non-intrusive voice-over and soundtrack.

by Gretel Stock-Kupperman, Director of the Todd Wehr Memorial Library