Sumner library explores public laptop options

Patrons of the Sumner library can now be a part of a new pilot program that allows Pierce County Library members to check out laptops for a day. The program, which started on Jan. 5, gave the library 15 Chromebook laptops for public use.

Derek Brownlee does school research at the library because he can't access the internet at home.

Patrons of the Sumner library can now be a part of a new pilot program that allows Pierce County Library members to check out laptops for a day. The program, which started on Jan. 5, gave the library 15 Chromebook laptops for public use.

While users can check out the laptops to use within the library, the Chromebooks cannot be taken from the building like books and movies.

“There’s always been a very clear need for computer access,” said Ben Haines, senior librarian . “The public computers have always been a really important service at the library, and they have always been in demand. It’s been hard to keep up with the need.”

While the Sumner library had some of its traffic dispersed to the Fife and Milton libraries, Haines said he has seen libraries with long waiting lists for the public desktops. With the new Chromebooks, though, the library hopes to sharply cut down on that traffic.

Haines said the new Chromebooks have several advantages over the traditional desktops in the library.

One advantage for library patrons is there is no time limit to check out a laptop, whereas the desktops retain their two hour time limit each day. Additionally, with an 11 hour battery, patrons could potentially check out and use the laptop for the entire day.

Haines also said the compact Chromebooks give users the flexibility to move around the library, and gives the library more flexibility with its space. “Adding more desktop spaces was not a viable option,” Haines said, because the desktops require the computer monitor, the tower, desk space and a chair, all of which takes up a lot of space. “But these Chromebooks, they’re compact and they’re eco-friendly, and they have the benefit of not having to be sitting for however at a desk staring at a screen. You can find a more comfortable place to sit.”

The laptops also cost the library about three quarters less than a desktop, said Haines, which means the library can purchase four laptops for the price of one desktop.

The only potential disadvantage to the Chromebooks, Haines said, is they are only for web browsing. The laptops are not equipped with the desktop versions of Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop, nor can users print documents from the laptop.

However, Haines said with the way technology is moving, many desktop programs will have online versions. In the meantime, though, library patrons can use Google Documents and other online Google programs for their various needs.

Because the program is new, Haines said security is still a question, although he believes the library is prepared.

The Chromebooks do not operate outside of the library, and because the laptops are checked out only with a library card, it is easy for the library to trace who had the laptop last.

Additionally, Haines said, users don’t have to worry about their personal information being stolen off the laptops. One the laptop is closed and logged off, all files, including temporary internet files and cookies, are deleted from the laptop.

 


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Screenshot from fredhutch.org
Fred Hutch seeks volunteers of color for COVID-19 study

Research company recently released a Spanish-language version of the website for accessibility, inclusivity.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Second-half 2020 property taxes due Nov. 2

The deadline will not be extended.

Rocks and debris to keep SR 410 closed for weeks

The fire has led to a multitude of other issues that make the highway unsafe for drivers.

Former drainage district commissioner, wife charged again with conspiracy, aggravated identity theft

Allan and Joann Thomas of Enumclaw have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

King County hosting virtual town hall Sept. 23

Check here for Zoom meeting information.

Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Sept. 1 – 10

Strange items around a dumpster, a suspicious Instacart driver, and a go-kart on the streets.

How Enumclaw families feel about sending kids back to school

Many, if not most, seem to feel comfortable sending students back into the classroom — with safety measures, of course.

Most Read