Thank you for sending us this feedback about the laptop lending program. Interestingly, this was not a usage-based decision; we know that the laptops are heavily used. It has more to do with the hard art of setting priorities as well as with a more philosophical question about providing access to personal computing technology.
The laptop lending program represents significant expenditures in terms of hardware costs and, in particular, staffing to support the program. In these financial times, we have to make hard decisions
about where our funds are best utilized, and the clear signal we hear from students is that we need to offer more and varied student spaces in our buildings. The savings realized by stopping the lending program will be reinvested in developing our student spaces, and will allow us--on the staffing front--to better support technology offered elsewhere.
Your point about students who cannot afford a laptop is well taken and quite important. The question I ask myself is whether the library is the part of the university that should be tasked with creating computing equity among students, with a secondary question being that even if we were that organization whether a laptop lending program is the most effective way to address the issue. Other universities address the issue globally with incoming students, making a need-based assessment to insure that all students are on a level playing field; others choose to provide all students with basic technology, and there are surely myriad other methods in place. What I have not seen in academia is that the library bears the financial responsibility for creating computing equity. What we have found to be the case in the library is that many laptops are checked out by students who own their
own laptops but do not want to carry them with them at all times.If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact meDale Askey, Associate University Librarian, Library and Learning Technologies
Answered by: pottier,askeyd