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Drexel University and the Free Library of Philadelphia are introducing what might be one of the first vending machines that lends out iPads to both students and local residents. The self-serve kiosk is located at the university and holds a dozen iPads that students and locals can checkout using their Free Library of Philadelphia card or Drexel student ID:

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. 

The iPads come with a selection of preinstalled apps that, according to the university, “explore art, digital storytelling, early literacy, games, geography, music, news, photo editing, science, astronomy and video editing.” And for security, the iPads will automatically wipe any user data when returned to the kiosk.

The new experiment at Drexel follows a project back in 2013 when the school offered 24-hour MacBook rentals through a similar vending machine setup.

“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.

The university said it will also look for other opportunities to bring more of these kiosks into learning spaces around its campus and local community.

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