The busy Library Center and Brentwood Branch Library each have added 10 new laptop computers that visitors can check out for in-library use. It marks the first time the Springfield-Greene County Library District has offered laptops on loan. We’re eager to see how visitors like them, so drop by and check them out.
The 20 laptops, called Google Chromebooks, were bought with a $7,485 Technology Mini-Grant from the Missouri State Library and a Library match of $2,495. If the project proves successful, the Library could add Chromebooks to other branches.
The laptops are lightweight, fast, easy to use and secure. Chromebooks have an eight-hour battery life and don’t require a plug-in. Patrons age 18 and older may check them out for two hours per person, per day.
It’s a pilot project, and one we think will please patrons. There will be less waiting for a public Internet computer at those two busy branches. Both have run out of room to add more stationary computers.
Better still, the laptops are mobile so patrons can be, too. Parents can carry the Chromebook into the children’s department and work on it while their children are busy. Patrons can also use the laptop in a study room or meeting room if they need privacy to study, submit an online job application or pay bills privately.
Patrons sign on to a Chromebook with their Google account or as a library guest, and the Web is automatically available. Chromebooks run Web apps that allow them to create and share documents. Patrons can access electronic information and their information “in the cloud.” Once patrons log out, none of their personal data can be accessed by other users.
Our overall goal is to keep up with visitors’ increasing demand for Internet access, especially during the struggling economy. Many Greene County residents who don’t have Internet access at home use the library public computers at the 10 branches to do online business – pay bills, apply for jobs, take an online course or stay in touch with relatives.
We hope that the Library’s existing free Wi-Fi and new Chromebooks will make life easier for all patrons who visit for entertainment or for business. Try one soon and tell us what you think.
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