Patrons of Homer Babbidge Library will soon be able to borrow a laptop computer and use it within the library for up to three hours.
Ten Apple iBook computers, acquired by the Neag School of Education through a grant five years ago, were recently donated to Babbidge Library for this purpose.
The pilot program, expected to go into effect after Spring Break, will enable students and other members of the campus community who don’t have a computer with them to study wherever they choose within the building.
“Although the library currently has 140 public computers available for use, students have expressed an interest in being able to borrow a laptop and study in our designated quiet areas on either Level 4 or Level A,” says Marian Farley, assistant vice provost for University Libraries.
“This pilot program will afford them that flexibility and, at the same time, allow us to assess interest.”
The laptops, which will feature Internet access and the full Microsoft Office suite, will be available for loan similar to other materials placed in Course Reserves at the iDesk on Babbidge Library’s Plaza Level. Users interested in borrowing a laptop, should go to the iDesk and request one.
The laptops will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. As with other materials on Reserve, a fine will be assessed if a laptop is not returned in a timely fashion.
“We realize that students work in many different ways, whether collaboratively in group study areas like the Learning Commons, or individually,” says Farley. “We strive to create an environment that supports students’ different styles of learning.”
Library users themselves have an important role in creating an environment that is conducive to learning, she adds. They need to respect the designated quiet areas on Level A and Level 4, and be thoughtful and courteous toward each other, including speaking quietly.
“Those who wish to use their cell phones are welcome to use the Plaza Level of the building, or Bookworms Café,” she says. “Most of our users come here to do work. It’s our goal to provide them with an environment in which they can easily do so.”