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Tell me about your laptop – what libraries can do to provide support

December 8, 2008, 8:41 am

Laptop1  Laptop2  Laptop3

At Georgia Tech we have policy that all incoming freshmen are supposed to have laptops. Gone are the days of the desktop—it is all mobile now! We started to notice heavy laptop use throughout the building awhile ago, but never really thought too much of it other than beefing up wireless. With our last renovation we also tried to provide more table space and power so that students could use their laptops…  but there is a feel that we could be doing more.

An interesting discovery, although not that surprising, is that during the day about 1 out of 4 students in the library (not at a computer) are using their laptops, while at night 5 out of 6 people are using laptops. This doesn’t take into account people working at desktops who are also using their laptops. This huge day/night surge is evidence that most students don’t carry them to class, but in the evening bring them along. This data is based on stats at the end of the term when things are heightened, so we’re not focusing too much on the exact numbers, but instead asking ourselves what kind of support can the library provide for laptop users?

I am not talking about IT support, although that is offered by people in our building, but rather about  the types of software, gadgets, accessories, tools, furniture, or supplies that would help people to be more productive. So I asked them:

  • Recliners and more ottomans
  • More outlets
  • More headphones for check out
  • Power strips
  • Extension cords
  • Book stands / paper stands
  • More small cubical-like spaces
  • Wireless keyboards
  • Wireless mice
  • Laptop docking stations
  • Comfortable chairs with tables and power outlets attached
  • Live chat with IT Help Desk
  • A bunch of common chargers available for checkout
  • Power outlets in all of the furniture
  • Laptop friendly tables and chairs (everything adjustable)
  • Swirling desk chairs
  • External drives
  • Flash jump drives
  • More laptops for check out
  • MacBooks for checkout, not just Dells

That’s the quick and dirty.  We asked other questions as well, but this gives you a taste. One direction we are talking about heading is creating a package specifically for groups or individual users in which they can check out a case with a power solution, keyboard, and mouse with perhaps a few other accessories bundled together.  We’ll see what the future holds. First we have to survive more budget cuts and I am sure our UGA-loving Governor is not too pleased with Georgia Tech running all over his sad dawgs.

Thanks to C. Bennett for getting this started and to A. Valk for helping me count.

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