As we prepare to join ListenUp, we're considering whether or not to have portable players available for loan. Anybody else do this? If so, what kind do you have, and do you require a damage deposit? It would seem to make sense to buy players that can handle both WMA and mp3 files, and from my limited research the biggest names are the various models of Creative Zen and SanDisk players. Even if you don't offer loaners, I'd be glad to hear any feedback (positive or negative) on portable players. I'm cross-eyed from information overload! Thanks!
Mark Skinner Library
P.O. Box 438
Manchester, VT 05254
We bought a Sansa Clip and a Creative Zen Stone. They were each about $30 at the time (some colors are cheaper than others!), both are 1GB. We put them in CD cases with multiple sleeves so they also hold directions and cable. We do not provide earbuds, patron must supply their own. We do not require a damage deposit. It's been nice to have them for several reasons. Some people just want to try them out before they buy one. Some people who have one but are having trouble getting it to work, can try ours out to see if the problem is with their player or not. So far we haven't had any trouble.
Kimball Public Library
We have 4 Creative Zen Stone players and they seem to work fine. Good luck!
Jill Tofferi, Fletcher Memorial Library
I went for inexpensive and bought three SanDisk players from Overstocks.com for about $28 each. I had previously bought an RCA player from Demco which isn't as good and cost more than twice as much. Because they are relatively inexpensive I haven't asked for deposits. So far everyone has treated them very kindly. We are a small library and only a few people have tried borrowing an MP3 player so far. The main problems I see with them: 1) the screen is too small for chapter titles, so time can be wasted trying to locate and start the next chapter (solution is to load all of the chapters at one time so they go on to the player in order); 2) no bookmarks to keep your place (solution is counterintuitive, the way to keep your place is to turn the player off, then it will start right where you stopped, if you use pause you'll lose your place). I'm not going to bother with the particular model name as things change so fast they may not be available anymore anyway.
Oh, one more problem: if you download on one computer, and then try to remove the files on another computer it may not work. You might not be able to see the files at all, making it impossible to erase them. Solution is to reformat the SanDisk player, which removes the files but doesn't affect anything else. Weird.
I have three portable players, donated by my Friends of the Library group. They are all Creative Zen Stone players, which were about $35 at amazon.com. I don't do anything different when people check them out -- they are cheaper than most audio books anyway -- and I figure if they get broken, it's likely the end of that unless the Friends agree to purchase some more. The Creative Zen Stone players are like the iPod shuffles, in that they don't do anything complicated (they have about four buttons), but they also don't have a display screen. I know people have been happy with the next product up (which I forget the name of), which does have a little display screen. It might be worth asking the schools listserv -- I do know many Listen Up! schools have purchased players for student use.
Stowe Free Library
We have 3 Sandisk Sansa clips that we loan out. They are relatively easy to use – nothing fancy –and I think go for about $40 each.We don’t require a deposit. We do have an MP3 borrowing policy that it includes a line about liability in the case of damage, and the policy goes out with the MP3 player. We have an age minimum and we limit borrowing to our own town’s patrons (i.e., no homecard or out of town; also no
Ginger @ Burnham in