Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Mistakes Were Made: What I Learned About Installing an iPad Lab in a MakerSpace

This is the tale of a clever teen, a librarian, and the great iPad lock out of 2016. You see, I went to check on the status of our new iPads in the Teen MakerSpace when I realized that one of my teens had been more clever than I could have imagined. I couldn’t even open up the iPad because they had changed the lockscreen passcode. I, and everyone else, were effectively locked out of this iPad. I was both impressed and annoyed with this teen’s cleverness.

Luckily, I had previously forgotten the passcode so I knew that there was a fix for this, though I wouldn’t say it is a quick and easy fix. I had to connect the iPad to a laptop and restore it to its original settings and then set everything up again; this is where I learned that I had incorrectly set up the iPads and they weren’t all attached to the same iCloud account. So I ended up having to restore not one, not two, not three, but four iPads to their in-box settings and set them all up again.


So I thought I would share with you some of what I have learned about setting up public iPads in my Teen MakerSpace. And if you have any wisdom or experience to share, please do so in the comments. This is new territory for me and mistakes have been made.

1. Set up a “dummy” account in Gmail (or some other email server) to connect all your iPads to

Do this first so you aren’t scrambling to get all these accounts in order as you are setting up. You’ll want to make sure all your iPads are connected to one account. I recommend keeping a document with all account addresses, passwords and passcodes in one place. We keep ours in the MakerSpace Manual.

makerspacemanual2. Set up an Apple ID

In order to buy apps or to use the Cloud, you’ll need an Apple ID. You’ll want to set this up first and make sure that all of your iPads are connected to it as well. This way, if you buy an app, you have purchased it for all your connected devices. You can have up to 10 devices connected to one Apple ID I believe.

3. Setting up restrictions

Under settings you can go in and put restrictions on your iPads. Be sure to write down your Restrictions Passcode and to use a separate passcode from the screen lock passcode. You can go through and restrict music, tv, video, Internet and more to the age appropriate settings of your choice. You can also limit things like Siri. If you work with teens you know they are going to spend a great deal of time asking Siri dirty questions, so you might just want to turn it off.

4. Turn off the screen lock

You can set up your iPad so it doesn’t go to a locked screen and ask for a passcode ever if you would like. You just have to make sure that someone goes through the area periodically and turns off the screens when not in use. If you do use a screen lock passcode, post the code on a sign in the your space so people can know what it is and don’t have to keep asking staff.

5. Downloading apps is easy when your iPads are connected

As I mentioned above, I believe the staff member at the Apple store told us that you could have up to 10 devices connected to one account. We talked briefly before about connecting devices with your email and Apple ID, but you’ll want to make sure you do this so that you have access to all the apps on your devices but only have to purchase them once. And should you have to restore an iPad, you can easily download the apps again. In fact, if you connect your iPads occasionally and sync them, when you restore them they will restore to the most recent sync and not all the way back to factory settings.

Here are a few other things we are learning:

  • Even with screen protectors, you have to wipe the screens clean several times a day to help keep the finger prints down.
  • We charge our devices over night so that we don’t have to leave the charging cords plugged in as a temptation. In the future we will look for a better charging station or a way to mount and secure the charging cords, but we are not currently set up that way and it would be very easy for someone to walk off with a charger.
  • We did buy lock boxes with cords which keep the devices safe throughout the day.
  • Teens like to take a lot of pictures and make videos. I did not investigate whether or not you can turn the camera off because part of how we use our devices are to teach photo manipulation and green screening, which means we use the camera. But we do go through a couple of times a day – and every open and close – to make sure and delete photos and videos. So far the highest number I have had is 129 photos of the same teen.

Here are a couple of other great discussions and set up tips I found regarding iPads in the library:

iPads in the Library: https://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/ifought-the-ipads-and-iwon.html

iPad Dos and Don’ts: http://learninginhand.com/blog/classroom-ipod-touches-ipads-dos-and-donts.html

Integrating iPads into Library Service: http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2012/03/continuing-the-conversation-integrating-ipads-and-tablet-computers-into-library-service

And here’s what to do if a teen locks you out of your iPad, because it apparently can happen: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204306

Creating and Using an iPad Technology Lab as Part of a Library Teen Makerspace

As part of my teen area Makerspace, I want to buy a number of iPads. Here is some of the information I have been putting together to discuss the who, what, when, where and why of it for my library administration. The iPad can be used in a variety of ways to incorporate more technology in teen programming, from gaming to teaching things like photo manipulation and creating short films. You can also use it as a platform for your library’s social media such as Tumblr and Instagram.

makerspaceBasic iPad Information:

iPad comparison chart: http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/#comparison-chart

This information will help you compare and contrast things like cost, storage capacity and more.

Things you can do with an iPad Tech Lab:

Teach and create a variety of photo manipulation techniques. These photos can then be used in house for display purposes, in marketing materials, and share via social media. They can be incorporated into bookmarks, posters, flyers, end cap displays and more.

  • Basic gaming
  • Create a variety of videos which can be shared and used both in house and online using apps like iMovies, Stop Motion or basic GIF apps life GIFfer.
  • Pair with the Lego Makerspace to create a variety of Lego based activities to combine tech with Lego fun. Adds variety to Lego Makerspace.
  • Produce and share music
  • Engage in social media marketing with teen audience

Apps of Interest

Basic Apps you’ll want to have downloaded: Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter

Gaming Apps

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Price point: $6.99

The popular game brought to iPad, not a full version

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/minecraft-pocket-edition/id479516143?mt=8

For further investigation: 70 Best iPad Games New for 2015 http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/best-ipad-games/

Photo Manipulation Tools


Price point: $2.99

The animated gif app, use to make GIF or short stop motion pictures. Easily upload photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/giffer-the-animated-gif-app/id416952536?mt=8

App review post with examples: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2014/10/app-review-lego-makerspace-fun-giffer-using-legos-to-tell-stories-and-learn-how-to-make-gifs/

Be Funky

Price Point: Basic app is free, but I bought the additional packages which included several effects. Similarly, the basic online service is free but there is an upgrade option.

What you can do:

  • Edit your photo, including cut and paste and several beauty edits
  • Add effects
  • Add frames
  • Add text
  • Create a collage (which can be used in combination with the Pop Art effect and speech bubbles to create a graphic novel/comic book page)

Info Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/befunky-photo-editor-collage/id442716817?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2015/05/tech-talk-app-review-befunky/

Photo Shake

Price point: $1.99

Easily upload photos and do a variety of things with them. I have used it to make book marks, grid pictures and more. Can be printed for in house use or shared on social media.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photoshake!/id389104355?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Word Foto

Price point: $1.99

Creates a word collage using a photo. I have used it to make end cap signage. Also great for sharing via social media.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordfoto/id414002091

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/


Price point: $1.99

Add text to photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/over/id535811906?mt=8

Adobe PS Express

Price point: Free

Upload and edit photos in a variety of ways.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adobe-photoshop-express/id331975235?mt=8

Comic Book

Price point: $2.99

Upload photos and add various embellishments to make comic book pages.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/comicbook!/id436114747?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/


Price point: $0.99

A mini photo booth that creates photo strips.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketbooth/id385145330

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Photo in Word

Price point: $0.99

Create words that are filled with your photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photo-in-word-pro/id513227128?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Motion Picture Tools

Stop Motion

Price point: $0.99

Easy to use and make stop motion pictures

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stop-motion/id552326107?mt=8


Price point: $4.99

Make trailers and movies

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imovie/id377298193?mt%3D8

Music Tools


Price point: Free

Use to make book playlists

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spotify/id324684580?mt=8

To investigate further: http://ipad.about.com/od/musical-accessories/tp/The-Best-iPad-Apps-For-Musicians.htm



More on Ipads in Libraries:

20 Coolest iPad Ideas for Your Library – OnlineCollege.org

Integrating iPads and Tablets into Library Services

There’s a Maker Faire in That iPad! 10 Ways to Create …

iPads in the Makerspace! | The GCAA Makerspace



For all of our tech posts, check out the Tech Talk index

Now it’s your turn: If you have other apps that you use and recommend, please share with us in the comments!