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(Oct 7/11) Would you be able to bring back the lap lending service?

Library response: Thanks for your question. As I wrote earlier when asked this question, it is a matter of financial and personnel priorities. Reviewing recent entries in the suggestion box, it's clear how many demands are placed on our computing infrastructure, and we have to make some hard decisions about where we best spend our resources. (Oct 7/11)
Answered by: Dale Askey (Associate University Librarian, Library Learning Technologies)

Follow-up Comments:

I dont understand why you are stating that you have to reallocate your resources, because we already had the laptops. You did not have to go out and purchase laptops in order to create the lending program. What happens with those laptops now? Will they just be recycled or will they sit in some storage room? It does not make any sense to me, why you would remove the laptop lending program, when clearly, majority of students needed. (2011-10-25)

Ill clarify a few points so that you can hopefully understand the decision better. - Yes, we already had a stock of laptops, but the Mac laptops in Thode were nearing end of life and are off warranty. Replacing them would have been a significant capital expense. - The costs for running such a program extend well beyond the cost of the laptops. As with nearly any activity run by the university (or any organization for that matter), staffing costs outweigh materials costs at the end of the day. Keeping a fleet of public-use laptops in working condition is not a trivial task, and we had to dedicate the better part of a full staff position to that one activity. As with many university units our budget is tight, and we frankly need his services in other critical areas. Its not an easy choice, but such choices have to be made. - The laptops will neither be recycled nor just sit in storage. Hardware never goes unused for long, and they are being redeployed in other ways to support our services and programs. - That a majority of students desire such a program is far from clear. Certainly, there is a group for which it was a key service, and weve heard from a handful of individuals from that group. The MSU survey showed a clear preference for another priority. Beyond that, we observe that a clear majority of students have their own technology, so it is more important for us to provide wireless networking and printing services for them, for example, than to loan laptops. I agree with anyone who asserts that we need a level technology playing field for students, but disagree that the library is the place to meet that need through a lending program. D. Askey (2011-10-26)