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Thank you to everybody who responded to my question regarding overdue
Playaway checkouts, checkout procedures, etc.  These are the answers to my
Rita Sitron
Walled Lake Northern High School

I have 14 Playaways in my collection right now.  I circulate them for the
same amount of time that I would circulate a book.  Students provide their
own headphones or ear buds, and I provide the extra batteries.  So far, I
haven't had any issues with loss or damage.  If they return the Playaway
late, I charge the same overdue fine as if it were a book (10 cents per day
in my school).  Students are told that if they have to use the spare
battery, they should put the used one back in the case, and let me know that
a new spare battery is needed when they return the unit.  I have every
single title on reserve right now, because they are so popular.  Some of my
eighth graders want to have a fund raiser with our student government
association to buy more because they are so popular!

Mine have been checking them out like a regular book and I have not had
problems.  One set of headphones came back broken, but the parent called and
then sent the money to pay for them.  They're great!

My experience has been in checking them out for myself at our public
library. I have found it difficult to get through a book in the 2 weeks
allotted for checkout and have had to renew each time. (I only read when
walking so that lets you know I haven't walked very much lately) The point
being you might want to have a longer check out than normal on the
playaways.  (Did you know you can also play them through computer speakers?
I didn't until a spoke with a vendor at a  state library expo.)

I was tempted to  treat them like a piece of equipment, but in the end
decided to treat them like any other Audio book.
We have a 14 day checkout for audio books.  If a book is damaged or lost,
the patron (student) must pay a repair or replacement fine.  In this case,
it would be the cost of the playaway.
For equipment checkout, we have a permission slip that goes home listing the
all different pieces of equipment and the replacement cost, then explaining
that loss or damage will require the student/family to pay for it.

We have had Playaways for about a year now. We have had a couple kids lose a
CASE, but so far we have not had any of the actual Playaways go missing. We
put them out on display, and so far, no problems. I know some schools just
display the case and keep the actual player behind the counter, but since we
do not really have much problem with theft in our library, this seemed like
unnecessary bother. We do not circulate earbuds with the players. Most kids
have their own headphones, but if they do not, we will sell them a pair of
earbuds for a dollar. A few kids have bought earbuds from us to use not with
a Playaway but with their own music players or whatever, which is fine with
us. Playaways do burn through batteries pretty fast, so stock up on AAAs.
FYI: we circulate all audio books (in any format) with a print copy of
the book as well. One justification for our large audiobook collection is
that these are aids to print comprehension and fluency, and so we encourage
our students to read the book with their "eyes and ears at the same time."

I put the empty box on the regular book shelf with the Playaway unit in a
seperate box behind the library counter.  Kind of like video checkout at the
grocery store.  The student brings the empty box to circ area and we fix
them up with the Playaway and headphone if needed.  I have not had one lost
or damaged yet.  I always remind the kids that they are more expensive than
a lost book and the kids have been really responsible.  (I am knocking on
wood as I type this :)  )They are pretty popular here.


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