Parks Library creates new way for students to learn


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A businesswoman works with financial graphs on her laptop.

Alex Connor

A new program that will allow ISU staff and students to check out laptops at Parks Library is testing the waters this school year.

The idea originated last spring from the Library Computation Advisory Committee (CAC), which consists of two staff and student members.

“The library receives a portion of the student technology fees (CAC funds) each semester,” said Greg Davis, assistant director of the library. “We have a committee (the Library CAC) that meets in the spring that develops ideas for the use of the CAC funds.”

The CAC fund was able to provide Parks with 10 MacBook Airs and 10 Dell laptops running Windows. The laptops can be checked out from the Parks Library Circulation Service Desk, which is west of the main entrance.

The library chose to provide both operating systems to students to be able to watch for trends within usage and preferences, Davis said.

The laptops can be checked out whenever, but must be returned a half hour before the main desk in the library closes or a $50 fine will be given.

“The computers are available on a first-come, first-served basis and must be returned to the Parks Library circulation desk prior to close on the day of checkout,” said Monica Gillen, communications specialist at the library.

The laptops may not be taken out of the library.

The library lent out one Mac and two PCs in July, when the program went live, nine Macs and 13 PCs in August and 16 Macs and 10 PCs in September, Davis said.

Students and staff with a valid ISU card are the only ones who are allowed to check out the library’s laptops, and the laptops should be used for academic purposes only.

The laptops are equipped with the same software as the workstations in the library — standard office applications. They have wireless Internet connections, so users have access to important Internet tools, such as Blackboard. Users will also receive a power cord and case.

“Last year, the university installed a wireless network upgrade in the library, and we now have a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the library,” Davis said. “The mobility of the laptops leverages the Wi-Fi upgrade and allows students to take a computer in the library to the space they need it.”

No feedback has been reported as to how the new program has impacted students.

“Usage so far has been light,” Davis said. “Right now we are monitoring the use of the checkout program. We will bring information about laptop checkouts to our Library CAC committee when we meet again next spring and determine next steps.”

For more information about the library’s laptop policies, visit the library’s website.