a.k.a. Lending Chromebooks to Patrons
Equipment: Acer Chromebook 2, model no. 500C12-K01 and stackable Laptop “depot” (charging station).
Price: Chromebooks – $259 each (prices have dropped), Stackable laptop depot – $359 for 8 slots.
Software: Google’s Chrome operating system comes installed.
Why this project?: Our public computers were often booked solid at any given time, so patrons couldn’t have additional computer time. Chromebooks self-update but don’t allow “outside” software to be installed (e.g. Microsoft office). Users have access to online resources only.
Appeal Factors: The machines are portable and versatile. They can be used on the wireless network anywhere in the library. They are easy to administer and update automatically.
Tech savvy needed to implement: Use a library account to login the first time. First login becomes the “owner” of the machine.
Staff training: All staff members were encouraged to check out a Chromebook and try them out.
Implementation tips and hints: We did not purchase a management component because it was a recurring cost.
Marketing: Website, Facebook, Twitter, digital sign examples
Patron feedback: Very positive. This basically doubled the number of public computers in the library and allows for longer sessions. Some people were still looking for Microsoft Office applications but most had no problem using Google Drive.
Things we should have done differently: We started out holding the patron’s state-issued I.D. during checkout but after some problems mixing up I.D.s, we moved to a signed form.