Visit the Robbins Library anytime between now and mid-September, and you’ll notice staff are sporting green pins that say “We’re cutting the cord. September 2013.” Don’t be alarmed–it’s all part of the plan to stimulate conversation around one of the most exciting changes to come to the library since our laptop vending machine. This September we are “cutting the cord” on our old 45-minute desktop PCs and adding 24 brand new Lenovo Ideapad laptops.
What does this mean for those of you who rely on us for free computer time?
- Freedom. You can work (almost) anywhere in the library.
- No waiting. We are doubling the number of PCs.
- Longer appointments. You can use a laptop for two hours, return it, and repeat.
Where are all these new laptops going to live? We’re adding a second laptop vending unit to our existing one, giving us the space we need for the 24 new laptops. These laptops have a 14” touch screen, and use the Windows 8 operating system. The three PCs that are currently dedicated catalogs will become 30-minute “Express” PCs which can be used as catalogs or for other purposes, just like our two current Express PCs. Also, you will find catalogs spread throughout the building, so you can access them where you need them, without going all the way back to the Reference area.
Why are we getting rid of our old desktop PCs? The key word there is “old.” The desktop PCs are near the end of their lives and need to be replaced. Because of the high demand for computers and need for more seating, our solution was to purchase a large number of laptops that you can use anywhere in the library.
As mentioned, the new laptops run on the Windows 8 operating system, which has a different look and feel from what you might be used to. We’re offering two orientation classes to help you out with the transition, and we’ll add more according to demand.
PC Reorganization at the Robbins Library – FAQ
Feel free to post in the Comments if you don’t see your question below. Chances are, someone else will benefit from the answer.
Do I need my actual library card to borrow a laptop?
Yes, you will need your physical card in order to borrow a laptop from our vending machine.
I’m a visitor and can’t get a Minuteman library card, what are my options?
We can issue you a guest pass if you have photo ID, which you can use at an express PC station.
How long can I use an express computer?
An express computer session is 30 minutes.
Can I have more than one session on an express computer?
No, but you can log on and log off as many times as you need to…in other words you can split up your 30 minutes of time however you’d like.
How long is a laptop computer session?
Laptops can be checked out for two hours at a time.
I don’t like using laptop touchpads or touchscreens, is there another option?
We have traditional computer “mice” available for checkout at the Circulation Desk. You can borrow one with your library card. They have a USB cord that plugs right into the side of the laptop. Are you left-handed? Try one of our mice especially designed for lefties.
I prefer a traditional keyboard, is there another option?
We have traditional backlit large type keyboards available for checkout at the Circulation Desk. You can borrow one with your library card. They have a USB cord that plugs right into the side of the laptop.
How long can I borrow a mouse and/or keyboard?
I’m worried about running out of juice while I’m working. Can I have the laptop power cord?
We can’t give you the power cord, but don’t worry–the laptops are set up to be fully charged when they get checked out, and they will last throughout your two-hour session.
Can I have more than two hours?
Yes, but you will need to save your work, return the laptop you were using, and check out a different laptop. This way, the first laptop has time to charge up for the next user.
I’m unfamiliar with the look of Windows 8. How do I get to the regular “desktop” screen I’m used to seeing?
If you are on the start screen, you will see a Desktop tile. This will take you to the familiar-looking desktop.
Can I print from a laptop?
Yes! There is a printing service tile on the start screen, a desktop shortcut and browser bookmark. Follow the easy web printing directions.
I have a disability and cannot reach the top lockers and/or carry the laptop to a table. What are my options?
Please see a librarian at the Reference desk, we can help you reach and/or carry a laptop to where you want to sit, or find someone who can.