Demystify Your Device at the Gadget Menagerie

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 6:00 am

By Jennifer Fenton, Continuing Education and Training Coordinator for the Washington State Library

Petting zoos aren’t just for children!  Now through June, the Washington State Library is taking their Gadget Menagerie, a tech petting zoo (that includes Kindle, Nook, Galaxy Tablet, iPad, Microsoft Surface, and Chromebook) on the road to 40 different library locations in Washington.  Gadget Menagerie familiarizes library members with the variety of gadgets available.

Learn how various eReaders, tablets and other devices work, including how to download books from the library. Discover what these devices have in common, how they differ, and learn basic operating tips.

At these public workshops, we assist many people with their own devices and showcase the gadgets from our menagerie. At one workshop, an 83-year-old woman wanted to compare tablets. After working with the various tablets in the Menagerie, she was able to narrow her interest down to 2 tablets.

Our youngest patron at the Gadget Menagerie was 9 years old. She had a tablet and wanted to learn about YouTube. Unfortunately, since she has no access to Internet at home, her tablet has limited functionality when items aren’t downloaded directly onto it. She loves coming to the library and now knows that she can bring her tablet in and use the library’s Wi-Fi to download what she needs and ask the friendly staff for help.

These trainings are funded by the Washington State Library via the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

For this project, which is part of the Washington State Library Digital Literacy project, we are actively encouraging feedback and stories ( So far, 100% of the public attendees have learned something valuable and would recommend the program to another. Comments from the public vary, but this one is very typical of the responses we have been receiving; “It was useful to have knowledgeable persons explain the equipment-what they will and will not do. Thank you for bringing the variety of devices.”

As one staff person said in a thank-you note, “We couldn’t have asked for better, more useful, hands-on training!”

Come to Gadget Menagerie at a Spokane County Library near you.

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2-4pm

Wednesday, Feb 26, 6-8pm

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  • Margaret Dingle

    Will there be another Gadget Menagerie in the near future at the North Spokane Library?

    • Thank you for your question. We don’t have another Gadget Menagerie scheduled. The Gadget Menagerie was a traveling program provided by the Washington State Library. We do offer Book a Librarian appointments at all of our libraries if you are looking for help with a particular tablet or device. You can request an appointment here: