Laptops latest toys in library

Next Monday, St. John’s University will take the next step when it comes
to higher technology and better resources.

The library, in conjunction with Information Technology (IT), will make
eight laptops available to be checked out for seven days at a time by
any current St. John’s University student, staff or administrative
faculty who has an ID card.

“The university, through the office of Information Technology, is making
available eight laptops that will be circulated through the reserve
room,” said Teresa Edwards, associate dean of Systems. IT asked the
library to assist with this program because it has the ability to
circulate the laptops through the reserve room.

“The office of Information Technology wanted to make them [the laptops]
available and they asked the library to cooperate with them in making
this possible because we already have the mechanisms set up,” Edwards
said.

Signing out a laptop will not be as easy as checking out a book.
Students will have to sign a special form to ensure that laptops aren?t
damaged.

“Everyone will be asked to sign a responsibility agreement accepting
responsibility for replacements,” Edwards said.

“If the student decides to take out a laptop and signs a contract, then
they should be familiar with the risk,” said Yahaira Quiros, a sophomore.

In signing the agreement, students are expected to pay late charges for
the individual parts (the laptop, case and adapter) as well as charges
for lost items. Late charges range from $10 the first day to the cost
of the item after seven days. Students will have to pay the cost of any
lost or stolen items. The laptop, case and adapter together are worth
$2,600.

Laptop borrowers are also expected to follow the Computer and Network
Policy that can be found on pages 112 through 117 of the 2000-2001
student handbook. These pages deal with prohibited uses and sanctions
for unacceptable use of computer resources.

Once the laptops are returned, their condition will be checked to make
sure that everything is in proper working order for the next user.
“The success of this is really going to depend on people’s care of
them,” said Edwards.

The laptops, which were purchased last year, are all IBM ThinkPads
equipped with Windows ’98, Office 2000 and a CD/DVD-ROM.

The program will enable students who need to work on schoolwork but who
cannot get time in the library and an opportunity to get the work
done.

“There may be times when they [students] can’t get to the
library and spend the time here and they don’t have a computer at home,”
said Edwards.

“I do believe that it’s a good idea because some students may not have
access to a computer,” said freshman Jearon D’Anglade.

“It seems like
a good idea,” said Quiros. “A lot of people don?t have computer access
at home.”

To better enable students to use the laptops, the library has a Quick
Start Users Guide to assist with the basics of the IBM ThinkPads and
will also be scheduling two tutorials. These sessions will last half
an hour and will cover how to turn on the laptop and hook it up. Signs
will be posted throughout the library.

Edwards is optimistic about this program.

“Success to me is that first
of all we’re giving the students, and faculty and administrative staff
something that they need to help them at some point in their learning,”
Edwards said. “I’m counting on everybody to know that this is a really
wonderful thing.”

“I think they [students] should take advantage of it,” Quiros said.