Circulating Non-Book Materials Round Table Minutes
April 9, 2010, 10-12pm
Tips for checking outnon-book materials
- Let faculty drive the need. Make sure there is a demand before decidingto circulate equipment. User or programdriven lending rather than "wouldn't it be a good idea to lend...". CU purchased software for teamcollaboration. Students didn't use it ontheir own, and it's also difficult to use.
- Get plug and play devices.
- Consider ease of use, not too many pieces
- Look for durability.
- Proprietary software can be problematic
- Is another department on campus alreadyproviding this service?
- Think about purchasing items "just in time" not"just in case". Technology changesrapidly. If you purchase an item oneyear and don't use it for a couple of years, it could be obsolete by the timeit gets checked out.
- Don't be too far ahead of the curve. Purchasing equipment ahead of the curve canalso backfire.
- Develop a strong connection with campus IT (CU could not offer the laptop checkoutprogram without ITS. CSU has integratedthe IT department into the library)
- Students don't understand privacy.
Bethany started the discussion by talking about a grant thatthe DU Writing program received to teach students to embed multi-modelexpression files, (MME) into their course work. With this grant, 20 flip cameras and 15 digital audio cameras wherepurchased that students in certain classes from the writing program can checkout for four hours to use for embedding (MME) into course work. (The library matched part of the grant by purchasing 6 of the Flipcameras and 10 of the audio recorders.) The instructors provided thelibrary with a list of students from the Writing program who can check out theflip cameras and audio recorders. Theinstructors wanted the students to have their project well planned so that whenthey got the cameras to checkout, the actual filming would be relatively quick.
The library set up a pilot program (Jan-March, 2010) to lookat the use of the flip cameras over time. Use statistics showed that all 20 cameras circulated. About 100 students checked out the flip cameras. So each camera was circulated 4-5 times. Some staff was worried about circulatingequipment to students. However, inturned out that students were able to use the equipment without any technicalassistance. One of the reasons behindthis is that the flip camera is very easy to use because it doesn't requireloading additional software. Everythingneeded to take pictures and download them is built into the camera.
Aside from the grant, DU has also purchased web cameras,still cameras and calculators all of which have a 4 hour checkout period. These items were purchased at the localbookstore so that students could easily find them if they decided to purchase anitem for themselves. All items have temporary bib records in the catalog sothat students can find them. To date, DUhas not had problems with damaged equipment. This may be due in part because the flip cameras were only checked outto a select group of students. Bethany isputting together a PR campaign which will showcase an item on a periodic basisso students know that the library circulates these items.
Mark, Suzanne and Curt discussed the laptop checkout programfacilitated through the Commons in Norlin Library. CU has 120 Mac Book Pros (dual boot machinesPC and Mac O.S.) which can be checked out for a four hour period. They useMillenium software to check out the computers and catalog them in the localcatalog so that students can see a list of available laptops. Checkouts are handled on a first come firstserve basis; students cannot put holds/reserves on laptops. Overdue fines are $5 an hour. They used to be $2 an hour, but that seemedto be too low and resulted in more overdues. In addition to laptops, they also check out some of the accessories suchas cable connectors and power cords. This is a very popular program among students. In one month 15,000 laptops and accessoriescirculate. This averages out to a laptopbeing checked out every 4 minutes. Inaddition to the laptops, there are also 50 fixed stations in the Commons whichare also heavily used. The Commons has a capacity to hold 320 people. The Commons laptops replace a former Mac laband ITS lab.
The CU Commons has set up a partnership with the computerdepartment on campus, ITS. ITS takescare of all technical support and were purchased with student funding. They supply weekly software updates andlaptops are reimaged every semester. Thelaptops are funded through the student computing fee.
One of the challenges with checking out laptops isdamage. Staff is so inundated with justchecking out machines that they don't have time to do a thorough examination oflaptops for damage between checkout periods. There are always lines to checkoutlaptops. A lot of times it's easier toreplace a laptop than to fix it. Typically, damaged machines are not covered by the Apple warranty.
Replacing laptops is not a trivial matter and will eat up alarge portion of the contingency fund at CU. CU will go through an evaluative process to figure out what worked andwhat didn't work with the laptop lending program. They may consider purchasing cheaper laptopsand determine what software is most widely used. One challenge is that ITS wants one image forall workstations. So they may not beable to create a different image for just the laptops. CU is also considering adopting a model whereITS manages all computers. Right now,the library does have a set of workstations that they manage.
Originally, there was going to be one service desk for alltypes of questions in the Commons. TheCommons would serve both reference and tech support questions. Checking out laptops turned out to be thefocal activity in the Commons so it didn't make sense to have a Referencelibrarian at this central desk. IT advisors(student staff) staff the laptop checkout desk in the Commons and also try toanswer tech support questions when time permits. CU library administration has discussed havinga roaming librarian in the Commons who could help students as they work. Another idea is to create kiosk stations thathave central library resources such as virtual references and librarydatabases. The Commons have become a central computer hub in the library, butthey would like to re-introduce the "library" back into the Commons. CU library has added reference chat on allbib records in catalog to help increase the awareness of library resources.
The Commons also includes special team tech rooms. These rooms which can be scheduled only by studentscome equipped with 55 inch flat screen monitors, and fixed computer stations. Students can also check out cordless keyboardsand mice, although very few do. There may be some technical barriers to usingthe wireless equipment. The tech roomsused to have scanners, but they were removed. They found that people would schedule the tech rooms only so they coulduse the scanners, so it made sense to move the scanners out of the tech roomand people could use them as they were available without having to book a room.
Not all faculty are on board with the Commons. A large contingent believes that the libraryshould focus on print materials and don't see the shifting role of libraries inthe 21st century.
The Circulation department at Norlin also checks outprojectors and recorders. They try tokeep these items in house when checked out, but it is a challenge.
Oscar Raab discussed laptop lending at CSU. CSU has almost 200 dell laptops and 40powerbooks that can be check out to students, faculty or staff. Powerbooks are more popular than the delllaptops. Formerly at CSU the Library Tech Services department maintained alllibrary computers.
The Director of Library Services is also the Director ofCampus IT. So there is a much stronger tie between thelibrary and computer services. TheCentral help desk for the campus is now in the library so computer tech supporthas been integrated into library services. CSU has a 6 hour checkout period for laptops. They initially tried 4 hour loans with a 2hour renewal. The number of overduefines increased remarkably with this approach. So they opted for a 6 hour checkout period. CSU checks out laptops with a packetcontaining the mouse and power cord. Theyused to have to reimage computers every time they went out. But now they rely on patron reports ofproblems and only reimage when it's necessary. CSU has a great replacement policy with Dell which covers nearly allrepairs, eliminating need for regular damage inspection.
Usually there are laptops available for checkout. However, toward the end of the semester allof them get checked out. CSU is going to be circulating small videocameras. One issue may be how to managethe SD cards that come with the cameras.
Notes taken by Rose Nelson-CO Alliance