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An iPhone @ Your Library?

June 27, 2007

Libby wants an iPhone @ your library

Originally uploaded by circulating.

or The Mobile Librarian and Another Shock of The Culture of No

We visited the Cingular store today in anticipation of setting up a wireless phone plan for the library. For the new iPhone. So we can text. And IM. And search. And share. With mobility. With our customers. Inside and outside of their library.

We were very excited, Libby and I. The questions from other library management concerning annual costs, loss prevention and efficiency had been debated. Not resolved as of yet, but addressed we hoped completely.

Our library has never had a wireless phone plan. We have, however, budgeted for this project in our upcoming fiscal year. Our research had led us to a decision to wait before making a purchase. We waited until the new iPhones were ready to come out.

What we discovered was disappointing. According to our local Cingular representative (we have no AT&T store):

  • There is no business service plan for the iPhone. Personal and family plans only will be available. Ok, we might could work with that.
  • Business credit cards without individual SS#s and only tax ID accounts will not be allowed. WHAT? However would that work with reimbursements monthly to library team members willing to front and be responsible for the bill?
  • One phone per person. We cannot buy five we need. We cannot buy the initial two we want to start out with. How can we be Learning 2.0 without a soft opening in-house?
  • EDGE will be slow but better than dialup. This is not impressive but we had already heard that. The look on the salesman’s face as he acknowledged that fact drove the point home.
  • Plans will cost approximately $20 more per phone per month than other normal personal and family plans. So we may have to reassess the budget a bit.

So now what? Of all things, I cannot imagine these limitations from Apple.

I have never owned a PC. My first computer at the library was a Mac. I operate now on my third personal Mac, an iBook G4 which followed my first, a Macintosh Perfoma, and my second, an iMac.

Our Youth Services department has an iTunes account. We are set up to broadcast from it over Airport Express in our YA Media Room. We have iPod shuffles and iPod Nanos to play with while we explore eAudio solutions for downloadable books and music for possible circulation.

And now AT&T and Apple tell us no. No. No. No.

Whatever is the world coming to, for the innovative Apple to suddenly deny the innovative library? Oh yeah, I almost forgot, they already did with their iTunes Music Store. We can buy individually but not on a share plan. I remember now.

As we left, our sales rep smiled and said “See you Friday.” Even though we heart the iPhone, we sadly had to tell him “We doubt so.” sighs

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2007 9:55 pm

    I’ve been hugely excited about the possibilities of internet tablets in our libraries for a while and the iPhone looks to be the best of the pack, so I have to sympathize with you.

    Still, it’s worth knowing that even big name technology reviewers can’t get the phones, and from Apple’s perspective, their greatest interest now is in getting the phone into the hands of individual consumers who really, really want them.

    Apple’s aura is dependent on the passion of its consumers, and they’re clearly trying to cultivate that, even at the expense of corporate sales.

    Work doesn’t pay for my cell phone, so the decision was entirely my own: I’ll be standing in line Friday. Good luck, though. I’d be interested in hearing more about how you might put the iPhone to use.

  2. Libby permalink
    June 30, 2007 12:48 am

    Check out the Helio Ocean. Bet Sprint has a “business plan” and not a noose around the neck. Very disappointed!! Bet all those people waiting on iPhones are so tired that they just went home and went to sleep!!!!

  3. jameswillisisthebest permalink
    September 8, 2007 3:39 pm

    This is my first post
    just saying HI

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